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Frontispiece. See page 78 





Principal of the Ledge Street School, Worcester, Mass. 



Copyright^ IQIO, 

By Little, Brown and Company. 

All rights reserved 

Published September, 1910 

Elecirotyped and Printed by 
C. H. Simonds 6^ Co., Boston, U.S.A. 




The First and Second Settlements I 


Third and Permanent Settlement — Incorporation 
of the Town 21 


Growth of the Town — Acadian Exiles — British 
Spies — Minute Men — Timothy Bigelow — 
Worcester in the Revolution 26 


Shays's Rebellion — Washington and Lafayette visit 
Worcester ^^ 

Worcesterin the War of 1812 and the Mexican War . 41 

Early Church History 43 

vi Contents 



The Public Schools — Free Public Library — Histori- 
cal Societies — Worcester Academy, Davis Hall — 
The Oread Collegiate Institute — Holy Cross 
College — Highland Military Academy — Worces- 
ter Polytechnical Institute — The State Normal 
School — Clark College and University. ... 5] 

Worcester of 1830 . 74 


Biographies: Timothy Bigelow, Isaiah Thomas, Levi 
Lincoln, John Davis, Eli Thayer, George Bancroft, 
Charles Devens, George F. Hoar, Governors of 
Massachusetts 79 

Monuments 93 

Worcester in the Civil War 105 


Worcester in the Spanish-American War . . . . no 


The Blackstone Canal — Railroads, Water and 

Sewerage I15 

Contents vii 



Parks 120 

Industries 128 

The City Government 132 

Old Time Taverns — Interesting Houses . . . 135 

History and Derivation of Names of Streets . . 148 

Interesting Facts 154 



Isaiah Thomas Frontispiece 

The First Settlement ii 

The Second Settlement 12 

Map of Main Street 22 

Old City Hall and Old South Church . . 43 

The English High School 56 

The South High School 57 

Worcester in 1829 60 

Worcester in 1830 . 74 

The Common in 1849 80 

The Hoar and Devens Statues {Photograph by 

Shaljian) 95 and 97 

Armory Square 104 

Main Street in 1865 i°5 

Elm Park (Photograph by WohlbrucK) . . .121 
Institute Park (Photograph by Wohlbr'ilck) . . 121 
Green Hill Park (Photograph by WohlbrucK) . 122 
University Park (Photograph by Wohlbruch) . .122 
Lake Quinsigamond 124 


Story of Worcester 



THE first settlers of Massachusetts 
began early to move inward from 
the coast, and the beautiful coun- 
try around Lake Quinsigamond attracted 
their attention. 

There was a settlement at Springfield 
and the General Court wished to have a 
place midway between Springfield and 
Boston, where travellers could spend the 
night and rest their horses. A committee, 
consisting of Daniel Gookin, Edward 
Johnson, Joshua Fisher and Thomas 
Noyes, was appointed in 1665, to make 
a survey of the land around Lake Quin- 
sigamond and determine if there be a 
" meet place for a plantation." Thomas 
Noyes died shortly afterwards. Nothing 

2 The Story of Worcester 

was done until 1667, when a hew commit- 
tee, consisting of Daniel Gookin, Edward 
Johnson,, Samuel Andrew and Andrew 
Belcher, was appointed " to take an exact 
view and make true report, whether the 
place be capable to make a village." 

A report was made October 20, 1668, 
wherein it was stated that the committee 
" viewed the place mentioned, and find it 
about twelve miles westward from Marl- 
boro, near to the road to Springfield." 
They found a beautiful lake, a large quan- 
tity of chestnut trees and broad meadows; 
enough, according to their estimate, with 
proper industry, to support sixty families. 
It was recommended, that the Court ^' re- 
serve it for a town." 

The report was accepted, and Daniel 
Gookin, Thomas Prentice, Daniel Hench- 
man and Richard Beers were appointed a 
committee to carry its recommendation 
into effect. 

From 1657 to 1664 the Court had made 
grants of this land to the church in Mai- 
den, to Mr. Increase Nowell of Charles- 
town, and to Mr. Thomas Noyes of Sud- 
bury. The heirs of Thomas Noyes sold 

First and Second Settlements 3 

their land to Ephraim Curtis of Sudbury, 
and he came here and settled on land 
between Adams Square and the City 

Curtis may be called the first white set- 
tler in Worcester. A committee, of which 
Daniel Gookin was chairman, had, pre- 
vious to Curtis's coming, built a house 
in the vicinity, but this house was intended 
merely as a shelter for the committee, and 
not in any sense as a settlement. The 
honor, therefore, of the first settlement of 
Worcester, belongs to Curtis. He was the 
only white man between Manlborough and 
Brookfield. It is recorded that, after his 
hard day's toil, he would sit down, and, 
looking towards Sudbury, shed tears. 

The committee of the General Court pe- 
titioned that the grants to the town of Mai- 
den and Ensign Noyes, and by Noyes sold 
to Ephraim Curtis, be declared void. 
They gave the following reasons for this 
request: — 

The grant of one thousand acres to the 
ministry of the town of Maiden was made 
May 7, 1662, on condition that it be im- 
proved within three years after the grant. 

4 Tlie Strwy of Waroester 

Six T^ar? bad ' : ' :-:::: ~ i no improve- 

X:'r: of 2;o £:re5 

C:. ^ : -r It 

: T . :1\- ior quantity or 

7 T - - : ' : give him land 

_:. ^1 . _'. -.: : . i . : itr^^g upon the town. 

Tht £-; ' TTTing of the committee was 

ige, July 6, 1669. and a 

: .- iLt luTHitd for the projt::td zrc'.'i- 

Z'-'-' - - - - ■ 

7ht C ' :t :: ^: Zo'^im Cur- 
ti$, T» ' : : ,'.':^i :r.t Nvyt; grant, 
'- ■ ',res of land :'. '""".e 

:..•/, r r'' ?.llo^vec r.:m 

250 acre^ - . -: - ^ -, , - : : of Worces- 
tei; ir -t ;-: .: :: V- 0:'e C^oo- 
tnr,** ncwr Auburn. Thit wa^ a tract of 

-. be l-^, -• . . . . , A 

Fira: and Second Serderrrents 5 

tfffra. Wliei J:.: _ ::.-e tz ^^arcssrer, t&e 

"-1 — rr iry't ~ - " 1 "^cuid. not 

ill : ~ " ~ -" .- r. - : ' I'Az soft 

As will be aeen - - -.: - - - - - 

of rfiese grants were qtl me Councy R^jad, 
from the head Qt Lake C - - ' 13 

tte Lancaster Ra ad. Only : .._ j-^^i .: ne 
thirr^r-twa persons nerfected rheir titles by 
paying to the cammitree dieir ^iur^ at 
expense. Of these icurtesi. but 5y^ ir sx 
built houses. 

It was thought ^ecessarr it this time to 
satisfy any claim diar the TTdians might 
have to the land. A d.e^ was executed by 
Waonashcck:isag, called Solcmcn. Saga- 
more Qt ~ :■ : : ■ ■" "- :^ : '-. ^^ :~ :^^ ":it; 
called J:.:.:, -.^-zi:: ~ .____: ^ 

T'l-i deed ^^-i? givci in . : ration af 

^ twelve at lawiul money af Xcw 

England inc called far land eight miles 

P:ie laciaas :: mis secdcn were jf me 
Nrpmuct ar Nlpnet tribe. They were 
Christian converts, and lived in the village 
of Grafton. Oxford Ehidlev, ^Tarcster. 

6 The Story of Worcester 

Woodstock, Uxbridge, Sterling and Brook- 
field. The principal settlement was in 
Worcester, on Packachoag Hill, and is 
thus described by Gookin: — 

^' This village consists of about twenty 
families and hath about one hundred souls 
therein. This town is situated upon a fer- 
tile hill and is denominated from a delicate 
spring of water that is there." 

The Tatnuck or Tataessit Hills were 
occupied by similar hamlets. Wigwam 
Hill at Lake Quinsigamond was peopled 
by Indians who were fond of fishing and 

In September, 1674, the Indians on 
Packachoag Hill were visited by the dis- 
tinguished Indian apostle, John Eliot, in 
company with his historian. Captain Dan- 
iel Gookin. The General Court appointed 
Captain Gookin superintendent of meas- 
ures for the civilization and government 
of the Indians. 

Gookin says of this visit: " We repaired 
to the Sagamore's house, called John, who 
kindly entertained us. There is another 
Sagamore belonging to this place, of kin- 
dred to the former, whose name is Solo- 

First and Second Settlements 7 

mon. This man was also present, who 
courteously welcomed us. As soon as the 
people could be got together, Mr. Eliot 
preached to them, and they attended rev- 
erently. After a short respite, a court 
was kept among them. The principal mat- 
ter that was done at this court, was, first 
to constitute John and Solomon to be rulers 
of this people, and co-ordinate in power, 
clothed with the authority of the English 
Government, which they accepted. The 
exercises were concluded with singing a 
psalm and offering prayer, and they re- 
tired to rest." 

In 1675, war broke out in Plymouth 
County between the settlers and Philip of 
Mount Hope. His influence extended to 
the neighboring tribes and in a short time 
the frontier settlements were abandoned by 
the whites. Many of these Indians who 
had joined Philip foresaw the result of the 
war, and, at the first opportunity, deserted 
him. Philip was driven from place to 
place, and took refuge early among the 
Nipmuck Indians. 

Worcester, situated far from other settle- 
ments, was in a dangerous position. Marl- 

8 The Story of Worcester 

borough was the nearest town on the east, 
Lancaster on the north, Brookfield on the 
west and Mendon on the south. The people 
abandoned their homes and fled to the 
larger towns near Boston. 

In July, 1675, King Philip, accompanied 
by Sagamore John, visited the Indians on 
Packachoag Hill and induced them to join 
him. Sagamore John, who surrendered 
at Boston a year later, '^ affirmed that he 
never intended any mischief to the English 
at Brookfield, but that Philip, coming over 
night among them, he was forced, for fear 
of his own life, to join with them against 
the English." 

Ephraim Curtis, considered the first set- 
tler of Worcester, distinguished himself by 
unusual bravery, in the attacks on Brook- 
field. He had been commissioned lieu- 
tenant in recognition of his ability in mili- 
tary affairs. 

Messages were repeatedly sent to the 
Nipmuck chiefs, urging them to remain 
friendly with the whites. Curtis held con- 
ference with four of their chiefs and was 
assured that the intentions of the Indians 
were peaceful. 

First and Second Settlements 9 

On July 28, 1675, Captain Edward 
Hutchinson and Captain Thomas Wheeler 
with a force of twenty men left Cambridge 
to negotiate a treaty. They arrived near 
Brookfield, August 2nd. The Indians, sug- 
gesting one meeting-place after another, 
led the whites into a narrow defile between 
a steep hill and a deep swamp. Two or 
three hundred Indians rose suddenly from 
the ambuscade, and firing upon the unfor- 
tunate soldiers, killed eight men and 
wounded five, including Captains Hutch- 
inson and Wheeler. The survivors fled to 
the town and fortified one of the largest 

Hutchinson and Wheeler immediately 
sent Ephraim Curtis and Henry Young 
to Boston to inform the authorities of their 

Wheeler in his narrative says : " When 
they " (meaning Curtis and Young) " came 
to the further end of the town, they saw 
the enemy rifling houses, which the inhab- 
itants had forsaken. Curtis and Young 
fired upon them and immediately returned 
to us again. They discerned no safety in 
going forward and were desirous to inform 

10 The Story of Worcester 

US of the enemies' actings, so that we might 
the more prepare for a sudden assault by 

'' This assault followed with great vio- 
lence, but was bravely resisted. During the 
night the attack continued, and the Indians 
attempted to fire the house with combus- 
tibles. Being desirous to hasten intelli- 
gence to the honored council of our present 
great distress, we being so remote from any 
succor, it being between 60 and 70 miles 
from us to Boston, where the Court useth 
to sit, and fearing our ammunition would 
not last long to withstand them if they 
continued to assault us, I spake to Eph- 
raim Curtis to adventure forth again on 
that service, and to attempt it on foot, as 
the way wherein there was most hope of 
getting away undiscovered. He readily 
assented, and accordingly went out. There 
were so many Indians everywhere there- 
abouts that he could not pass without ap- 
parent hazard of life, and he came back 

" Towards morning, Ephraim adventured 
forth the third time, and was fain to creep 
on his hands and knees for some space of 

This drawing is designed to illustrate the relative positions of home-lots. The number on the 
map corresponding with the one set against the name below will indicate the location occupied 
by that person. 

16 Maj.-Gen. Daniel Gooltin. 

17-24 Thomas Hall. 

18 Thomas Grover. 

19 Jobn Paul. 

20 Joel Jenkins. 

21 Joseph Beamis. 

22 Joshua Bi^elow, 

23 Michael Flep;. 

25 Beujamiii Crane. 

26 Capt. Thomas Preutice. 

27 Benjamin Web. 
2S Phiiiehas Upham. 

29 Pbilip Mwood. 

30 Trial Ne\vberry. 

31 Minister's lot. " 

Gershom Eams. 

Samuel Brigham. 

John Provender. 

Joseph Waight. 

John Shaw. 

John Fay. 

John Curtis. 

Dr. Leonard Hoarr. 

Capt. Daniel Henchman 
Ephraim Curtis. 

Thomas Brown. 

Jacob Dana. 

Richard Dana. 

Svmon Mevlin. 


Samuel Gookin. 

t':r-^— "-"PLA/v or 


Drawn by E. B. Crane 


The village of Quinsigamond (subsequently named Worcester), 
destroyed by the Indians in 1675. 

Page II 

First and Second Settlements 11 

ground, that he might not be discovered 
by the enemy, who waited to prevent our 
sending, if they could have hindered it. 
But, through God's mercy, he escaped their 
hands and got safely to Marlborough, 
though very much spent, by reason of want 
of sleep before he went from us, and his 
sore travel, night and day, in that hot sea- 
son, till he got thither, from whence he 
went to Boston." 

Before Curtis had reached Marlbor- 
ough, a body of soldiers had marched to 
the relief of the little band surrounded by 
more than three hundred Indians. 

On Dec. 2, 1675, the Indians destroyed 
the little village of Quinsigamond which 
then consisted of five or six deserted 

In 1682, the General Court notified the 
committee that unless immediate steps were 
taken to form a plantation the grants 
would be considered forfeited. It was not 
until 1684, that Captain Henchman and his 
associates induced some of the first settlers 
to return, and encouraged others to accom- 
pany them. 

The committee planned to provide for 

12 The Story of Worcester 

the safety of the new settlement and, to 
that end, erected a citadel/ This was 
located on land extending from the sum- 
mit of Fairmount or Messinger Hill, to 
and including Captain Wing's corn and 
saw mills on the south. These mills were 
situated a few rods south of the southerly 
end of the railroad freight house near Lin- 
coln Square. This citadel covered terri- 
tory one half mile square. On the map 
this is shown, being enclosed by lines — 
beginning at a point opposite the junction 
of the Country and Lancaster Roads and 
ending at the figure five, which is Captain 
Wing's mill. 

It was stipulated that " land for a cita- 
del should be laid out, on the Fort River,^ 
about a half mile square, for house lots, 
for those who should, at their first settling, 
build and dwell thereon, and make it their 
certain place of abode for their families; 
to the end the inhabitants may settle in a 
way of defence, as enjoined by law and 

* Citadel — a fortified place in or near a city, com- 
manding the city and intended as a final point in defence. 

'Fort River — named from the ancient fortress which 
had been thrown up on its bank — later called Mill Brook, 
from the mills moved by its waters. 

This drawing is designed to illustrate tbe relative positions of honae-lots. The number on ttie 
map corresponding with tbe one set aguiust tiie name below will Indicate tbe location occupied 
by that person. 


Ephraim Curtis. 


Bridget Usher. 


Thomas Ball. 


Thomas Brown. 


Ephraim Curtis heirs. 


Peter Goulding. 


Daniel Turell. 


Daniel Henchman. 


James Butler. 


Samuel Daniel. 


Dauiel Gookin. 


Thomas Allerton. 


John Wing. 


Digory Serjent. 


Isaac George. 


George Danson. 


Charles Williams. 


William Weeks. 


Samuel Simpson, 


George Ripley. 


Isaac Bull. 


Adam Winthrop. 


William Paine. 


George Rosbury. 


Mr. Peirpoini. 


James Holmes. 


John Wing's Mills 


Hezekiab Usher. 


Alexander Bogell. 

Drawn hy A'. B. Crane. 

f683 TO l^8S: 


Plan showing the Citadel and locations of the settlers, only two 
lots being held by the original pioneers. 

Page 12 

First and Second Settlements 13 

formerly ordered by the committee for 
divers reasons, and each one so doing, to 
have a house lot there, at least six rods 
square." It wsls further required that there 
should be '' two fire-rooms in the citadel 
to shelter such as shall come to settle, and 

Of the previous settlers, four only re- 
turned, and of these but two took up the 
original grants: — Thomas Brown on the 
Country Road, and Thomas Hall between 
Oak Hill and Lake Quinsigamond. 

The heirs of Ephraim Curtis took up his 
land on Lincoln Street. 

Local historians state that Lieut. Eph- 
raim Curtis was married and that he re- 
turned at the time of the second settlement. 
As a matter of fact, Ephraim never mar- 
ried and he was dead at the time of the 
second settlement. 

Hon. Ellery B. Crane, the librarian of 
the Worcester Society of Antiquity, made 
an exhaustive research in this matter. By 
consulting the records of the Probate Court 
of Cambridge, he found that Ephraim, 
Esq., was the son of Joseph, the youngest 
brother of Lieut. Ephraim Curtis. Eph- 

14 The Story of Worcester 

raim, Esq., deeded to Captain John, his 
son, " a certain parcel of upland and 
swamp ground." This John Curtis ap- 
pears to have been the first of the Curtis 
family to become a permanent settler in 
Worcester. His daughter Sarah married 
" Tory " Jones, who kept the tavern on the 
present site of the Sargent Building, 
Franklin Square. 

Daniel Gookin, who had land on the 
Country Road, took up a new grant on the 
easterly slope of Packachoag Hill, and 
Daniel Henchman changed to a place in- 
side the citadel grounds. 

In September, 1684, Daniel Gookin, 
Thomas Prentice, and Daniel Henchman 
petitioned the General Court, " that their 
plantation at Quinsigamond be called 
Worcester." This request was granted. 
No special reason has been given for the 
choice of name. 

There is in England a city called 
Worcester. It is noted in history as the 
place where Charles II w^as defeated by 
Cromwell. The word Worcester means 
" war-castle." In the Proceedings of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society for Feb- 

First and Second Settlements 15 

ruary ii, 1873, Mr. Whitmore, in his essay 
on names of towns, says that there is a tra- 
dition that the name was given by the com- 
mittee to commemorate the battle of Wor- 
cester, England. In this battle Cromwell 
shattered the force of Charles II " as a 
crowning mercy and as a defiance to the 

From 1686 to 171 3 the records of the 
town do not show anything of importance, 
except that the Indians caused a second 
desertion of the place. In 1696 a band of 
hostile Indians penetrated as far as Worces- 
ter, but did not inflict any damage upon 
the inhabitants except the kidnapping of 
Samuel Leonard, or as Barber in his His- 
torical Collections calls him, Leonardson, 
a boy of fourteen. He was held captive 
until after the massacre at Haverhill. On 
March 15, 1697, the Indians surrounded the 
town of Haverhill, killed twenty-seven 
of the inhabitants, and carried away thir- 
teen captives. Thomas Dustin was work- 
ing in his field when he noticed the ap- 
proach of the Indians; seizing his gun, 
he mounted his horse, and drove his seven 
children before him. They escaped. In 

16 The Story of Worcester 

the meantime, the Indians at the house had 
seized Mrs. Hannah Dustin, her infant 
child, and Mary Neff, who was caring for 
Mrs. Dustin. They killed the baby and 
drove the two women before them into the 
wilderness. For fifteen days they marched 
through the forest, a distance of seventy- 
five miles. 

The band divided into two parts. One 
company with Mrs. Dustin, Mary NefT 
and Samuel Leonard crossed over to an 
island at the junction of the Merrimac and 
Contoocook Rivers. The captives secretly 
took council together, and resolved to at- 
tempt flight. The boy, Samuel, inquired 
of one of the tribe, '' Bambico," as to where 
he would strike, if he would kill a man 
instantly, and how he would take off the 
scalp. The Indian, bringing his finger 
against his temple, made answer, " Strike 
him there!" and he proceeded to tell him 
how to take ofif the scalp. 

On that night, March 30, 1697, the camp 
fires in front of the wigwams blazed pleas- 
antly. The tribe, burdened with the fa- 
tigue of a restless journey, slept soundly. 
The captives awaited the midnight hour 

First and Second Settlements 17 

and then noiselessly, obtaining the toma- 
hawks and moving together, they struck the 
deadly blows. One old squaw and an 
Indian boy were all that escaped. Ten 
Indians were killed and scalped by the cap- 
tives. They scuttled all the canoes but 
one, and in this they floated down the Mer- 
rimac River as far as they could, and 
thence along its left bank until they ar- 
rived at Haverhill. 

In April, 1697, they visited Boston, ta- 
king with them the scalps and an Indian 
gun and tomahawk as evidence of their 
achievement. The General Court awarded 
to Mrs. Dustin a gift of £25, to Mary Nefif 
and Samuel Leonard £12 los. each. The 
Governor of Maryland, upon hearing of 
the affair, sent complimentary presents to 

Samuel Leonard had about forty acres 
of land, which extended from the lake back 
over the ridge upon which Lake Tower 

The location of his house is described by 
Hon. Ellery B. Crane as the knoll upon 
which the tower stands. The following 
letter is interesting: — 

18 The Story of Worcester 

Worcester, July 24, 1885. 
E. W. Lincoln, Esq., 

My dear Sir: — I am quite sure that within the bounds 
of the new park at the Lake once stood the house of Samuel 
Leonard of Bridgewater. And it was from that house that 
his son Samuel was stolen by the Indians in the year 1696. 
Investigation thus far points to the spot on the hill, where 
the old cellar hole is found, as being the site, or near the 
site, where the old log house of Samuel Leonard stood. 
It would seem the best natural location for his house, on 
that beautiful rise of ground. 

About one year after the capture of Samuel Leonard, or 
Leonardson, his master took part in the descent on the 
town of Haverhill, Mass., and succeeded in capturing Mrs. 
Dustin and Mrs. Neff. The story of their capture and 
escape, by killing the Indians, will be found on page 185 
of Barber's Historical Collections of Massachusetts, and 
forms an interesting item to the history of Worcester and 
her new park; for I am quite sure that it was from that 
territory that the Leonard boy was taken. 

Yours, with great respect, 

E. B. Crane. 

When Queen Anne's War broke out in 
1702, the settlers abandoned their homes 
and fled. Diggory Sergent, who had settled 
upon Sagatabscot Hill, refused to leave his 
home, despite the pleadings of the com- 
mittee. The people of Marlborough be- 
came alarmed and advised him to remove 
to a safe place. Their advice was not 

First and Second Settlements 19 

heeded. Finally, the committee sent Cap- 
tain Howe with twelve armed men to oblige 
him to leave. Night coming on, and a snow 
storm threatening, the soldiers were forced 
to take shelter in the garrison house near 
Lincoln Square. Hidden away in the cellar 
was a party of six Indians, who had sought 
cover from the storm. 

The soldiers resumed their march in the 
morning, and after travelling about a mile, 
came to Sergent's house. They were too 
late: " They found the door broken down, 
the owner stretched in blood, and the 
dwelling desolate." After burying Sergent 
at the foot of one of his oak trees, the sol- 
diers pursued the Indians, but were un- 
able to overtake them. The mother was 
slain in the march and the children were 
taken to Canada. The eldest daughter, 
Martha, returned and married Daniel 
Shattuck of Marlborough. They moved to 
Worcester and occupied the eighty-acre 
farm upon which her father had settled. 
The following is Martha's story: 
"When the Indians surrounded the 
house, the father seized his gun to defend 
himself and family. He was fired upon 

20 The Story of Worcester 

and fell. The Indians rushed in, killed 
him, and tore the scalp from his head. 
They then seized the mother and her chil- 
dren, Martha, John, Daniel, Thomas and 
Mary, and began a rapid retreat. The 
wife and mother, fainting from grief and 
fear, impeded their flight, and while as- 
cending the hills of Tatnuck, in the north- 
westerly part of Worcester, a chief stepped 
out of the file, and, looking around as if 
for game, excited no alarm in his sinking 
captive. When she had passed by, one 
blow of the tomahawk relieved the savages 
from the obstruction to their march." 

Two of the children, Daniel and Mary, 
remained with the Indians and adopted 
their habits. John and Thomas went to 
Boston after their release. 



SOME of those who had been interested 
in the second settlement were anx- 
ious to have the town rebuilt. A 
committee, consisting of Col. Adam Win- 
throp, Jonas Rice and Gershom Rice, ad- 
dressed the General Court. They set forth 
their desire " to endeavor and enter upon 
a new settlement of the place from which 
the former settlers had been driven by 
war," and asked for assistance. Their peti- 
tion was granted, and a committee was 
appointed to arrange for the re-settlement 
of the town. 

In 171 1 Jonas Rice purchased of John 
Allenton, son of Thomas Allenton, one of 
the second settlers, sixty acres of land in 

Gershom Rice, in 171 2, purchased sixty 
acres of William Paine of Boston. 

22 The Story of Worcester 

In 1713, Jonas Rice occupied his land, 
which was situated on the easterly slope of 
Sagatabscot Hill, on what is now known 
as Heywood Street. Here he lived with 
his family for about a year, the sole inhabit- 
ant of a wilderness of woods and swamps 
for fifteen or twenty miles around. He 
was the first permanent settler of Worces- 
ter. His brother Gershom joined him in 
December, 1714, and located on his land 
near Oak Hill. His house stood near the 
corner of Grafton and Wall Streets. The 
land included the grounds of the Grafton 
Street school. Nathaniel Moore and Dan- 
iel Heywood soon followed, Moore set- 
tling near Jonas Rice, and Heywood on 
the site of the Bay State House. 

Other settlers soon followed. In 171 8 it 
was estimated that Worcester had a pop- 
ulation of two hundred. 

The experiences of the past had taught 
these hardy men to take measures to pro- 
tect themselves against attack by the In- 
dians. A garrison house of logs w^as built 
on the westerly side of Main Street near 
Chatham Street. During the first year the 
people living in the vicinity of this fort 

Third and Permanent Settlement 23 

were accustomed to sleep within its walls. 
Another fort was built by Daniel Heywood 
and located near the junction of Main and 
Exchange Streets. 

In the north part of the town there were 
several forts. One of them, north of Lin- 
coln Square, between Prescott and Lincoln 
Streets, served as a shelter for travellers 
and a protection for the mills erected on 
the stream. Near Adams Square a regular 
blockhouse and fort combined was built, 
and a long iron cannon was mounted to 
give the alarm in case of danger. 

Meetings for religious exercises were 
held as early as 171 5, in the dwelling- 
houses most conveniently situated for the 
people. Each man went to religious serv- 
ices completely armed as though he were 
to engage in instant battle. 

In 1717 a rude structure of logs was 
built near the junction of Green and 
Franklin Streets. This served as a meet- 
ing-house until 1719, when a large build- 
ing was erected on the Common. 

Some immigrants from the north of Ire- 
land settled in Worcester about 1718. On 
account of religious persecution at home 

24 The Story of Worcester 

they came to the new world, thinking that 
they would be allowed religious and civil 
liberty. In this they were mistaken. These 
people were Presbyterians. Their first 
meeting-place was in the old garrison 
house at the north end of the town. 

'' These frugal, industrious and peace- 
ful " people attempted to build a meeting- 
house just north of '^ The Oaks " on Lin- 
coln Street. They had hardly completed 
the framework when, one night, a mob of 
citizens demolished it. Annoyed and per- 
secuted, some of these people left Worces- 
ter and went to Pelham, Massachusetts, 
and others to Londonderry, New Hamp- 
shire. Many remained and joined the reg- 
ularly established church. 

Matthew Thornton, who, as delegate to 
the Continental Congress from New Hamp- 
shire, signed the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, is said by his biographer to have 
resided when a child among the immi- 
grants in Worcester. 

On June 14, 1722, Worcester was incor- 
porated as a town, and in 1731 became the 
shire town, or county seat. This was of 
great value to the place, as many profes- 

Third and Permanent Settlement 25 

sional and business men were thereby in- 
duced to make Worcester their home. 

The location of the shire town occa- 
sioned much debate and diversity of opin- 
ion. Four towns, according to population 
and valuation, stood higher in rank than 
Worcester, — Sutton, Lancaster, Mendon 
and Brookfield. Worcester, on account of 
its central location, had the advantage. It 
was proposed to have Lancaster and 
Worcester half shires, and have the ses- 
sions of the court held alternately in each 
town. This was opposed by Joseph 
Wilder, who remonstrated against the 
holding of court in Lancaster, lest the 
morals of its people should be corrupted. 

The terms of court were the great holi- 
days of the county, and the people of 
neighboring towns assembled in Worces- 
ter. Wrestling, fighting and horse-racing 
were common exercises. The stocks and 
whipping-post were located on Court Hill. 
Frequent exhibitions of discipline at- 
tracted crowds of spectators. 



THE town increased steadily in pop- 
ulation and wealth up to the be- 
ginning of the Revolution. 
In the fall of 1755, eleven persons were 
sent to Worcester to be provided for by the 
town authorities. They were Acadian ex- 
iles, who had been forced by the military 
power of England to leave their happy 
homes in Nova Scotia. The inhabitants 
of the town treated these unfortunate peo- 
ple with great kindness. Notwithstanding 
this, the eldest of them died broken-hearted, 
and the rest, after twelve years, returned 
to their countrymen in Canada. 

In 1775 Worcester had a population of 
nineteen hundred. At this time the diffi- 
culties between England and the colonies 

Growth of the Town 27 

were such that nothing but war could be 
expected. Preparations for the conflict 
were actively though silently made. The 
people of Worcester purchased and manu- 
factured arms, cast musket-balls, provided 
powder, and threatened openly to fall upon 
any body of soldiers that should interfere 
with them. 

General Gage sent his spies here and it 
was rumored that he intended to send part 
of his army to execute the '' Regulating 
Act." This Act forbade the holding of 
town meetings without the written consent 
of the governor. Two English officers 
were ordered to make an expedition, exam- 
ine the roads, learn the distances from town 
to town, and make maps showing the posi- 
tion of streams, heights, passes and posts, 
and report regarding the character of the 
country. These officers left Boston dis- 
guised as countrymen and came to Worces- 
ter. While here they stayed at " Tory " 
Jones's Tavern, which stood on the site of 
the Sargent building, Franklin Square, 
corner of Allen Court. 

The report of the journey, made by one 
of the officers, was found after the evacu- 

28 The Story of Worcester 

ation of Boston. In his story he said: 
" However, as we imagined we had staid 
long enough in that town (Worcester) we 
resolved to set off at day break the next 
morning, and get to Framingham. Ac- 
cordingly, off we set, after getting some 
roast meat and brandy from our landlord, 
which was very necessary on a long march, 
and prevented us going into houses where, 
perhaps, they might be too inquisitive. We 
took a road we had not come, and that led 
us to the pass four miles from Worcester. 
We went on unobserved by any one, until 
we passed Shrewsbury, when we were over- 
taken by a horseman who examined us very 
attentively, and especially me, whom he 
looked at from head to foot, as if he wanted 
to know me again. After he had taken his 
observations, he rode off pretty hard, and 
took the Marlborough road, but by good 
luck we took the Framingham road again." 
The horseman was Captain Timothy 
Bigelow, sent by the committee of corre- 
spondence to observe the officers, whose 
martial bearing, notwithstanding their care 
and disguise, betrayed their military char- 

Growth of the Town 29 

It is believed that General Gage intended 
to march troops to Worcester and capture 
the large quantity of stores that he thought 
had been collected. Whatever his plans 
w^ere, they were disarranged by the result 
of the April movements. 

Companies of ^' minute-men " w^ere 
formed and exercised. At the town-meet- 
ing held in March, 1775, it was voted " that 
each of the minute-men belonging to the 
town, attending drill one half day of each 
week, shall be paid by the town, one shil- 
ling per man for each one half day's serv- 
ice." A penalty for absence provided for 
the same amount. 

The services of these minute-men were 
soon required. On the day of the battle of 
Lexington, April 19, 1775, " a messenger, 
riding a white horse covered with sweat 
and bloody from spurring, dashed through 
the town crying: — 

^' ' To arms! To arms! The war is 

His horse fell from exhaustion, but, an- 
other being procured, he hastened on. The 
bell was rung, cannon were fired, and the 
minute-men were ready at a short notice. 

30 The Story of Worcester 

They were paraded on the common under 
Captain Timothy Bigelow, and after 
prayer by Rev. Thaddeus Maccarty, began 
their march. They were soon followed by 
other volunteers under Captain Benjamin 
Flagg. On that day Worcester sent one hun- 
dred and ten men on the march to Concord. 
They were met on the way by messengers 
who informed them of the retreat of the 
British. The soldiers then marched to 

During the early part of 1775, captives 
from the British army were sent here, 
and the jail was filled with prisoners of 
war. Some of these were allowed, under 
parole, to enter the service of the inhabi- 

The expedition against Quebec took 
place in September. Among the brave men 
who marched through the wilderness under 
General Benedict Arnold were Major 
Timothy Bigelow, Captain Jonas Hubbard 
and other soldiers from Worcester. In the 
attack on the fortification, Dec. 31, 1775, 
Captain Hubbard was mortally wounded, 
and died in the hospital about two weeks 
later. Major Bigelow and the soldiers 

Growth of the Town 31 

were taken prisoners and confined in prison 
nearly a year, when they were exchanged. 

On Sunday, July 14, 1776, Isaiah 
Thomas read from the porch of the Old 
South Meeting House the Declaration of 
Independence. This was the first reading 
of the Declaration upon Massachusetts soil. 

On November 4, 1777, General Bur- 
goyne and his captured army passed 
through Worcester on their way to Cam- 
bridge, where they were held under guard. 

Soldiers enlisted and also were drafted 
from time to time to assist the Continental 
Army in different sections. Out of the 
population of 1900 people, Worcester fur- 
nished about 400 soldiers, or more than 
twenty per cent, of the total population. 

Worcester was represented by her sol- 
diers at Cambridge, Bunker Hill, Quebec, 
Long Island, Saratoga, Valley Forge, 
Monmouth and Yorktown. 


^ " The origin of the term ' Minute Men ' 
seems clear. It originated in the Court 

* Contents of a letter written to Mr. Franklin P. Rice by 
Mr. C. W. Ernst, of Boston. 

32 The Story of Worcester 

House at Worcester, Mass., September 21, 
1774. The evidence, peculiarly conclusive, 
is in a volume entitled The Journals of 
Each Provincial Congress, Boston, 1838, 
pp. 643-644. 

" The context of the earliest passage, on 
Page 664, is interesting. The Worcester 
County Convention asked the militia of- 
ficers to resign and soon thought a new 
force desirable. The new officers were to 
be chosen by the respective towns, and the 
militia, organized under purely American 
or ' constitutional ' authority, was to be 
ready ' to act at a minute's notice.' 

" This new force was immediately called 
' Minute Men.' " 



AT the close of the Revolution, the 
country was struggling under the 
weight of a heavy debt. There was 
no money to meet the pay due to the soldiers ; 
business was at a standstill; the money 
in circulation was mostly paper money 
and no one knew its value, for what was 
worth one dollar in one state might be 
worthless in another; there was compara- 
tively little domestic trade, owing to the 
jealousy of the different states. 

The laboring classes were sorely pressed 
to meet their private obligations, while 
levy after levy of public tax was being laid 
upon them by the Legislature. The legal 
fraternity reaped a harvest because of the 
rapid increase of civil actions. 

Honest and industrious citizens were 
dragged off to prison or their possessions 

34 The Story of Worcester 

were sold to satisfy a debt or for payment 
of taxes. 

The people, driven to desperation, first 
attacked the lawyers, then the courts. For 
more than four years the people had been 
looking to the Legislature for relief, but 
had been disappointed. They could wait 
no longer. 

A body of men banded together 
and called themselves ^' The Regulators." 
Their object was not the destruction of life 
and property, but they wished to show their 
determination that they meant to have re- 
form, not only in the laws of the Common- 
wealth, but in the manner of their execu- 
tion. It was the spontaneous rising of an 
overtaxed and overburdened people. 

In August, 1786, 1500 of the Regulators 
assembled and took possession of the court 
house in Northampton, and prevented the 
sitting of the official body. Governor Bow- 
doin issued a proclamation, appealing to 
the officers and citizens to suppress such 
treasonable demonstrations. 

The citizens of Hampshire, Berkshire, 
Worcester, Middlesex and Bristol Counties 
were in a state of intense excitement. On 

Shays's Rebellion 35 

September 4th, an armed body of men 
under Capt. Adam Wheeler, of Hubbards- 
ton, took possession of the court house in 
Worcester. The justices and court attend- 
ants were refused admittance. When 
Chief Justice Artemas Ward demanded 
why this armed force was present, and who 
was in command. Captain Wheeler replied 
that they had come to relieve the country 
from distress by preventing the sessions of 
the courts until .the people could obtain re- 
lief from their grievances by legislation. 

The judge reproved the .rioters, and re- 
tired to the United States Arms where court 
was opened and adjourned to the next day. 
The officers of the militia reported that they 
were unable to muster their companies, and 
the court adjourned to November 21. 

Excitement ran high in the western part 
of the state. Two or three thousand men 
assembled at Great Barrington, Berkshire 
County, and prevented the sitting of the 
courts in that place. 

Men were now assembling in Spring- 
field to prevent the sitting of the Supreme 
Judicial Court. The friends of the gov- 
ernment numbered about 800 men and wore 

36 The Story of Worcester 

pieces of white paper in their hats to dis- 
tinguish themselves from the Regulators. 
The Regulators numbered 900 well armed 
men under command of Captain Daniel 
Shays, and 500 camp followers, each with 
a green sprig in his hat. 

The court was not allowed to do business, 
and a compromise was effected by which 
those men confined in prison for debt 
should be released. 

It was impossible to transact any business 
in the courts of Middlesex, Bristol, Worces- 
ter, Hampshire or Berkshire Counties. 

Governor Bowdoin issued a proclama- 
tion calling together the members of the 
General Court October 18, 1786. It was 
decided to remove, so far as it was in their 
power, all causes of discontent, believing 
that when this was done, nothing further 
would be heard of insurrection. The 
House voted to remove the General Court 
from Boston if it could be done with any 
advantage to the people. An address to 
the people was issued and sent to every town 
informing the people of the exact condition 
of public matters and trying to show that 
much of the dissatisfaction and unrest 

Shays's Rebellion 37 

among the people came largely from a lack 
of knowledge relating to the affairs of the 
state. A general pardon was granted all 
persons who had taken part in the insurrec- 
tion, provided they would take the oath of 
allegiance before Jan. i, 1787. 

Confidence was partially restored and no 
opposition was offered to the sitting of the 
courts at Taunton and Cambridge. 

The next court to convene was that in 
Worcester which had adjourned to Novem- 
ber 21. The Regulators had not forgotten 
the day. A company of sixty men came in 
from Princeton and others arrived from 
Shrewsbury and Hubbardston. They sur- 
rounded the Court House and the justices 
dispersed without transacting any business. 

The Court of Common Pleas was to con- 
vene in Worcester in December. The Reg- 
ulators, one thousand strong, collected in 
and about Worcester. Captain Shays, with 
his followers from Hampshire County, 
marched to Rutland. Some of his men 
were quartered at Shrewsbury, others at 
Grafton and Holden. 

On December 3, 1786, the Regulators 
who went to Grafton marched into Worces- 

38 The Story of Worcester 

ter and took possession of the Court House. 
Captain Shays arrived with about 350 men ; 
and after joining the companies already in 
town, a grand parade was made about the 

The Regulators were successful in 
Worcester and many of them returned to 
their homes. Captain Shays, with about 
500 men, returned by way of Paxton to 

Springfield was the next objective place 
and Shays marched his little army there 
and took possession of the court house. 

Governor Bowdoin immediately issued 
orders to raise 500 men to serve 30 days 
and march to the protection of the courts 
to be held in Worcester, Jan. 23, 1787. He 
gave command of this force to Major-Gen- 
eral Benjamin Lincoln. He issued an or- 
der to Gen. Lincoln to protect the courts 
at Worcester and to capture, secure and 
disarm all bodies of armed men who might 
be assembled in the counties of Worcester, 
Hampshire, Berkshire or elsewhere in the 

The troops marched upon Worcester and 
thence to Springfield. Shays and his men 

Shays's Rebellion 39 

retreated before them. After 250 of the 
insurgents were captured, the rest were dis- 
persed. Shays fled to Vermont, where he 
remained a year, finally receiving a full 

Captain Daniel Shays was born in Hop- 
kinton. He served with distinction in the 
Revolutionary War. General Lafayette 
rewarded him for bravery by presenting to 
him an elegant sword. There is no ques- 
tion but that Shays was actuated by purely 
patriotic motives. 

General George Washington paid two 
visits to Worcester. The first was made 
July I, 1775, when he passed through here 
on his way to Cambridge, to take command 
of the Continental Army. He remained 
here one night, stopping at the " Stearns 
Tavern," formerly the " King's Arms," oc- 
cupying the site of the present Lincoln 
House. His second visit was in the autumn 
of 1789, when he made his tour of New 
England. This time he stayed at the 
" United States Arms," now called the Ex- 
change Hotel, corner of Main and Market 

General Lafayette visited Worcester 

40 The Story of Worcester 

twice. His first visit was made in 1824, 
and the second in 1825. The last time he 
passed through he was on his way to Boston, 
to assist at the laying of the corner-stone of 
Bunker Hill Monument. 



EARLY in the century war broke out 
between England and France. The 
latter nation demanded assistance 
from the United States. This was refused. 
We were at peace with the world and could 
not take sides with either nation, even 
though our sympathies were with France. 
France threatened and finally war broke 

The President called for volunteers, in 
case they should be needed to repel inva- 
sion. A company of sixty men was formed 
in Worcester and held in readiness to 
march upon orders. Peace was declared 
and their services were not needed. 

The War of 1812 was not popular with 
the people of New England, and very little 
enthusiasm was exhibited. Worcester took 
no active part, other than sending the 

42 The Story of Worcester 

Worcester Light Infantry and the Worces- 
ter Artillery to serve in camp around Bos- 

Worcester was not represented in the 
Mexican War by any number of volunteer 
soldiers. An officer in the regular army, 
Captain George Lincoln, a son of Governor 
Levi Lincoln, was killed at Buena Vista. 
Captain Lincoln had taken part in the Sem- 
inole War and, as a participant in the Mex- 
ican War, he was in the battles of Palo Alto 
and Resaca de la Palma. In general orders 
we read the following: — 

" We have to lament the death of Cap- 
tain George Lincoln, Assistant Adjutant 
General, serving on the stafif of General 
Wool, a young officer of high bearing, and 
approved gallantry, who fell early in the 
action." — Major-General Taylor s official 



SHORTLY after the third settlement 
in 1713, the settlers, each with a 
loaded gun, were accustomed to meet 
for religious services on the Sabbath, at the 
log house of Jonas Rice on Heywood Street. 
About 1717 they met in the private house 
of James Rice, who lived near the junction 
of Green and Franklin streets. 

In 1719 they built their first church on 
the Common. In less than fifty years this 
was found to be too small and a new church 
was built in 1763. This church, known as 
the Old South Church, remained practi- 
cally unchanged until 1887, when it was 
torn down to make room for the City Hall. 

The bell cast by Paul Revere hangs in 
the belfry of the new Old South Church, 
corner of Main and Wellington streets. 

The South Parish in 18 19 undertook to 

44 The Story of Worcester 

discipline some of its members and a sep- 
aration took place. This resulted in the 
formation of the Calvinist Church. These 
people met in the Court House until 1826, 
when they moved into what was then 
known as the '' Waldo Church." Hon. 
Daniel Waldo erected the new church, — 
the Central Church on Main Street, north 
of George Street, — and presented it to the 
Society. This building, without the steeple, 
is still standing. The society is now known 
as the Central Church and occupies a splen- 
did building on the corner of Salisbury 
Street and Institute Road. 


Dissensions having arisen in the First 
Parish about 1784, a part of the parish 
withdrew and began to hold meetings in 
the Court House. In 1792 they moved to 
Summer Street, near Heardsleigh Street. 
The building later was converted into a 
hotel, then passed into the possession of the 
city, and was used for a great many years 
as a schoolhouse. 

The people of this church were obliged 
to pay ministerial rates to the old church, 

Early Church History 45 

and to this they objected. They became in- 
corporated in 1787 as the Second Parish, 
Congregational Uhitarians. This society 
moved into its new brick church on Court 
Hill in 1829. In 1849 this church was des- 
troyed by fire. The present church was 
dedicated in 1851. 

Rev. Aaron Bancroft, father of Amer- 
ica's great historian, George Bancroft, was 
pastor of this church for more than fifty 


James Wilson, an Englishman, came to 
Worcester in 1795, and in 1801 was ap- 
pointed postmaster. He has been called 
" the father of all Baptists in Worcester." 

At this time there were but three avowed 
Baptists in town. They, with a few others, 
held meetings for a number of years in Dea- 
con Wilson's house. The pastor of the Old 
South Church, Rev. Dr. Austin, for whom 
Austin Street was named, offended a num- 
ber of his parishioners shortly after the 
breaking out of the War of 18 12 by a vio- 
lent attack upon President Madison. The 
sympathizers with the President left the 
Old South Church and, affiliating with 

46 The Story of Worcester 

the Baptists, organized the First Baptist 

They held their Sabbath meetings in the 
hall of the Centre Schoolhouse, which stood 
on Main Street, nearly opposite Thomas 
Street, where the Chadwick Building now 
stands. Their first church was built on 
Salem Square and was destroyed by fire in 
1836. They rebuilt the next year and this 
building is now owned and occupied by 
the Notre Dame Church congregation — 
French Catholics. 

The First Baptist Society united with the 
Main Street Baptist Society in 1902, and 
worshipped in their church on the corner of 
Main and Hermon Streets. They occupied 
this church until the completion of their 
magnificent edifice at the corner of Main 
Street and Mower Avenue. 


The first mention of a body of Catholics 
in Worcester was in 1826, when, as the par- 
ish records read, '' Catholics first came to 
the town of Worcester." They were Irish 
immigrants, brought here to work in the 
construction of the Blackstone Canal. 

Early Church History 47 

These people were visited occasionally 
by a priest. On account of the frequency 
of accidents, they begged for a clergyman 
to come and live with them. In 1834 
Father Fitton of Hartford was appointed 
by Bishop Fenwick to visit them once a 

Christopher Columbus Baldwin, in his 
interesting diary, says, under date of April 
7, 1834: — 

^' Mr. Fitton yesterday assembled the 
Catholics now in this town, and with those 
who came from the factories of Clappville 
and Millbury, he had about sixty, besides 
women and children. He was subjected to 
some difficulty in finding a convenient place 
to hold a meeting, but at length obtained 
consent to hold it in the new store erected 
by Mr. Bailey, which is constructed of stone 
and stands on the north side of Front Street, 
on west bank of the Blackstone Canal. I 
believe this to be the first Catholic ser- 
mon ever preached in this town." This 
building is still standing at 236 Front 

Father Fitton purchased land on Temple 
Street in 1834, ^^^ began the erection of a 

48 The Story of Worcester 

church. It was called Christ Church and 
is still standing, being known as the " In- 

Whenever it was known that mass was to 
be said, people would gather from Clinton, 
Westboro, Oxford and all the surrounding 

It was the custom of a portion of the 
Penobscot tribe of Indians to come down 
from Maine every summer and pitch their 
tents at the foot of Temple Street. Father 
Fitton had been a missionary among these 
Indians. Every Sunday they were accus- 
tomed to gather in a circle outside the 
church door, and, kneeling on the ground, 
await the coming of the priest. He, enter- 
ing the circle, would lightly lay his hand 
on each bowed head and give them his 
blessing. The Indians would then arise 
and depart satisfied. 

About this time there was stationed here 
a company of United States soldiers, who 
were preparing for the second Seminole 
War. Their barracks were on Temple 
Street and their drilling-grounds on Burt 
Street. Many of these soldiers attended 
church in full uniform. 

Early Church History 49 

The present St. John's Church was dedi- 
cated in 1846. 


The first Methodist Episcopal Church 
was organized in 1834. Services were af- 
terwards held in the society's own church 
on Union Street, corner of Exchange Street, 
which was dedicated March 8, 1837. This 
church was destroyed by fire in 1844, and a 
new brick building was erected on Park 
Street. This they sold to the French Cath- 
olics in 1869. The society then moved to 
their new church, Trinity, at the corner of 
Main and Chandler Streets. 


The Protestant Episcopal Church held 
its first services in Worcester in 1835. The 
first church was destroyed by fire, and in 
1874 the congregation moved into its beau- 
tiful church. All Saints, at the corner of 
Pleasant and Irving Streets. 


The Society of Friends met in Leicester 
until 1837, when they held services in a 

50 The Story of Worcester 

room on Main Street. Two of the mem- 
bers of the society, Samuel H. Colton and 
Anthony Chase, gave the land at the corner 
of Chatham and Oxford Streets, and a 
meeting-house was built in 1846. This was 
torn down in 1906 and a new church was 
erected on the same site. 


The Universalist Church was organized 
in 1843. They built the wooden building 
which stood for so many years at the corner 
of Main and Foster Streets, on the site of 
the Worcester County Institution for Sav- 
ings. In 1 871 they removed to their pres- 
ent church on Pleasant Street, opposite 
Chestnut Street. 



AT the first meeting of the original 
committee of settlement in 1669 it 
was agreed, " that a lot of land 
should be appropriated for the mainte- 
nance of the schools, to remain for that use 
forever." When surveys were made, after 
the permanent settlement, a tract of forty 
acres was granted. 

April 4, 1726, " the selectmen agreed 
with Mr. Jonas Rice to be school master 
and to teach such children and youth as 
any of the inhabitants shall send to him, 
to read and write as the law directs." 

52 The Story of Worcester 

Upon the expiration of this term, which 
lasted until December 15th, the town voted 
peremptorily, " that the town will not have 
a school." This period is called the " Dark 
Age of Massachusetts." Every hand was 
busy converting forest into farm; a fluctu- 
ating currency scarcely served for the nec- 
essaries of life. Worcester, with other 
towns, was fined for neglect of the school 
laws, and the sum of £2 8^. bd. was raised 
in 1728, to defray the charges of prosecu- 
tion for the want of a school. 

Benjamin Flagg was employed directly 
afterward as a school master and £14 was 
granted for his annual pay. 

Districts were formed in 1731, and the 
selectmen were instructed " to provide a 
suitable number of school dames, not ex- 
ceeding five, for the teaching of small chil- 
dren to read, to be placed in the several 
parts as may be most convenient, and these 
gentlewomen to be paid such sum, by the 
head, as they may agree." 

It was resolved, in 1735, that a school 
house be built in the centre of the town. 
It was decided to '' set up " the first school- 
house of Worcester '' between the Court 

The Public Schools 53 

House and the bridge below the fulling 
mill." This schoolhouse was built on Court 
Hill, and John Adams taught here from 
1755 to 1758. 

By vote of the town in 1752, a grammar- 
school was established. A house with two 
rooms was built, about this time, on Main 
Street near the corner of Foster Street. 
This building was turned into a dwelling- 
house during the Revolution. 

A stock company, formed in 1784, pro- 
cured a lease of land on Main Street, be- 
tween Maple and Walnut Streets, but it 
was not until 1792 that the schoolhouse 
was built. Two rooms were opened, one 
for the common elementary studies, and the 
other, called the seminary, for the higher 
branches of academic education. Only 
children of the proprietors attended this 
school. After the graduation of these chil- 
dren, the school was obliged to close, owing 
to lack of pupils. In 1801 the building was 
purchased by the citizens for nine hundred 
and fifty dollars. 

Up to 1824 the schools were supported 
by voluntary contributions. In that year 
authority was obtained from the Legisla- 

54 The Story of Worcester 

ture to bring the steady support of taxes to 
the maintenance of the schools. 

The first school board of twelve was or- 
ganized, and ten permanent schools ar- 
ranged for, to be kept through the year. 
The first brick schoolhouse erected in 
Worcester was on Thomas Street, in 1832, 
and for a number of years this was the 
largest schoolhouse in the place. The Latin 
grammar school was kept there, previous 
to the opening of the first high-school build- 
ing on Walnut Street, in 1845. 

The present Thomas Street schoolhouse 
was erected in 1850, on the site of the 
former building, which was removed to 
East Worcester and for many years stood 
on the corner of Shrewsbury and East 
Worcester Streets. 

There was a small wooden schoolhouse 
in Bigelow Court. 

The South Boys' Primary School was on 
the southeast corner of the Common, front- 
ing Park Street, the burial ground being 
to the west of it, the town pound north, 
and Baptist Hill, or Salem Square, to the 

A brick schoolhouse was built about 1840 

The Public Schools 55 

on the spot where now stands the Soldiers' 

Mr. Nathaniel Paine, in his interesting 
paper, " School-day Reminiscences," read 
before the Worcester Society of Antiquity 
February 3, 1903, tells of some curious cus- 
toms. " An hour or more, two or three 
times a year, we set apart for polishing 
desks. Boys and girls were expected to rub 
them with wax till they could see their faces 
in them. Then, too, the floors were cleaned 
with sandpaper by the boys. 

'' The first high school building was 
erected on Walnut Street, and was consid- 
ered to be one of the finest and best 
equipped in New England. Visitors came 
from other cities and towns to inspect it. 
The headmaster, Mr. Elbridge Smith, was 
so proud of the school that the boys were 
obliged to take ofif their boots and put on 
slippers before being allowed to go up 

In April or May there was celebrated a 
day known as Anniversary Day. Mr. Paine 
says that he never found out what anniver- 
sary. All the children, with the teachers, 
assembled on the Common. Then, headed 

56 The Story of Worcester 

by a band of music, they paraded on Main 
Street and marched to some church, where 
an address was delivered by one of the 
school committee. This celebration was in- 
augurated in 1825, and was kept up for 
nearly twenty years. 

The Ash Street and Salem Street school- 
houses were built in 1850, and the Provi- 
dence Street schoolhouse in 1857. At the 
time of the erection of the first Classical and 
English High School building in 1845, on 
the site of the present one, there were ac- 
commodations for 175 pupils. At that time 
Worcester had thirteen schoolhouses and 
thirty- five teachers. To-day there are about 
650 teachers and about 24,000 pupils in the 
day schools. There are three high schools 
and fifty-three elementary schools. 

The Classical and English High School 
was opened in 1845 with Mr. Elbridge 
Smith as the first principal. The building 
itself was moved in 1870 across Walnut 
Street, where it now stands, and the present 
Classical High School was built in 1871. 

The English High School was completed 
in 1892. Mr. James Jenkins was the first 

i ^Tf4^:.. 


Page 56 


Page 57 

The Public Schools 57 

The South High School was completed 
in 1900. Mr. Homer P. Lewis was the first 

The following named gentlemen have 
been Superintendents of Schools: Rev. 
George Bushnell in 1857, Rev. John D. E. 
Jones, Col. P. Bernard Chenoweth, Dr. Al- 
bert P. Marble and Mr. Clarence F. Car- 
roll. The present Superintendent is Mr. 
Homer P. Lewis. 


The Free Public Library was established 
in 1859. It was started with the gift, by Dr. 
John Green, of 7,000 volumes. At his death 
he left $30,000 for the endowment of the 

There are four departments: The refer- 
ence, reading, circulating and children's. 
The library is open every day in the year. 
It was the first in New England to open its 
doors on Sunday. 

The first building was completed in 1861, 
and the addition was opened in 1891. This 
has a lecture-hall, art galleries, and study 

There are sub-stations where books may 

58 The Story of Worcester 

be left to be returned to the library, and 
where cards may be left for books. 

A board of directors, consisting of twelve 
members, chosen by the City Council, has 
charge of the library. This board elects the 
librarian and his assistants. 


Isaiah Thomas possessed the finest pri- 
vate collection of books, pamphlets and 
newspapers in this country. It was his wish 
that this collection should remain in its en- 
tirety. His offer to contribute it to an or- 
ganization that could take proper care of 
it, made possible the starting of such a soci- 
ety as the American Antiquarian. At his 
own expense he erected on the east side of 
Summer Street, near Lincoln Square, a 
brick building and presented it to the soci- 
ety. This hall was used until 1853, when 
the present building on Main Street, corner 
of Highland, was erected. 

The library now numbers over 100,000 
volumes and there is also a valuable collec- 
tion of newspapers, manuscripts, broad- 
sides, and early American imprints. The 
portraits of eminent men, and the cabinets 

The Public Schools 59 

of antiquarian and historical articles may be 
mentioned as of interest to the general pub- 
lic. This society owns the most valuable 
and complete collection of Americana in 

The American Antiquarian Society, 
whose members are from all parts of the 
world, was founded in 1812 and has its 
headquarters in Worcester. It is the oldest 
society of an educational nature in the city. 


The Worcester Society of Antiquity was 
organized in 1875, its object being '' to fos- 
ter in its members a love and admiration 
for antique research and archaeological sci- 
ence, and to rescue from oblivion such his- 
torical matter as would otherwise be lost." 

The society has published the early rec- 
ords of Worcester from 1667 to 1848, and a 
list of births, deaths and marriages from the 
earliest recorded, to 1848. The Records of 
the Court of General Sessions have been 
prepared with great care from the original 
manuscripts, and they are of especial value 
as books of reference. 

In 1 89 1, the society erected a fine build- 

60 The Story of Worcester 

ing on Salisbury Street. Here will be found 
a large and valuable library and an exten- 
sive collection of articles illustrating the 
early history of New England, with special 
reference to that of Worcester County. 

This society is distinctly a local institu- 
tion. It has published 24 octavo volumes 
of its proceedings. These contain many 
articles of local and general history. Espe- 
cial attention has been given to the devel- 
opment of the early history of the county 
and city of Worcester. 


Worcester Academy was founded in 1834, 
under the auspices of the Baptist denomi- 
nation. It was incorporated as the Worces- 
ter County Manual Labor School. This 
institution was situated on a farm on the 
easterly side of Main Street, nearly oppo- 
site the Oread. The land extended from 
Main Street back to the railroad. There 
were three brick buildings on the summit 
of the hill between Oread and Benefit 

Benefit Street is said to have derived its 
name from the fact that the sale of the land 


The Public Schools 61 

for the opening of the street enabled the 
institution to continue at a time when the 
finances of the school were low. 

The school was intended to help young 
people pay their own way to an education. 
The students were of two kinds, those who 
paid their own tuition, and those who 
worked on the farm to pay for their school- 

The buildings and land were sold in i860. 
For the next ten years the school occupied 
the old Antiquarian Hall on Summer Street. 
In 1870 the Academy moved to its present 
home on Union Hill, and occupied the 
building which was known as the Dale 

To-day Worcester Academy has exten- 
sive grounds and many fine buildings. It 
has a large number of students and ranks 
as one of the leading preparatory schools 
in the country. 

Davis Hall, the main building of 
Worcester Academy, was erected in 185 1, 
for the Worcester Medical College. This 
institution ceased to exist in 1855. 

Although the period of service for whicK 
Davis Hall was originally designed proved 

62 The Story of Worcester 

brief, its adaptability and usefulness were 
soon recognized by another educational in- 
stitution which had for its object the higher 
education of women. 

In 1853 a number of persons connected 
with the Baptist denomination met in Am- 
herst, Mass. They adopted the following 
resolution : — 

''Resolved, That the Baptist denomina- 
tion should take immediate measures to es- 
tablish a female school of the grade of our 
colleges and universities." 

A charter was obtained in 1854 for the 
establishment of such an institution. The 
board of trustees met in Worcester in 1855, 
and voted to locate the college here. 

The committee purchased the Medical 
College and the Institution was opened with 
bright prospects. The panic of 1857 and 
1858 proved disastrous to the enterprise. 
The Ladies' Collegiate College closed its 
doors in i860. 

The United States Government made 
provisions in the last year of the war for 
the comfort and care of sick and disabled 
soldiers. Two hospitals were established in 

The Public Schools 63 

Massachusetts: one in Readville, and the 
other in Worcester. 

The War Department leased the Female 
College, as it was then called, for a period 
of five years at a rental of $6,000 per year. 
It was named the Dale Hospital in honor 
of Surgeon-General William J. Dale, of 
Governor Andrew's staff. A number of 
wooden buildings, regulation barrack style, 
were built in the rear of the college. Head- 
quarters for the officers were provided in 
the college building. 

When the war was over and the army 
was disbanded, the need of these hospitals 
passed. All the soldiers, even though they 
were sick, wished to return to their homes. 
In December, 1865, the hospital was dis- 
continued and the buildings, stores and 
equipment were sold at auction. It was 
used but fourteen months and cost the Gov- 
ernment $75,000. 


In 1845 Mr. Eli Thayer purchased a 
tract of land on what was then known as 
Goat Hill. Later he owned the land to 
Piedmont Street. 

64 The Story of Worcester 

Mr. Thayer was a graduate of Brown 
University. He firmly believed that girls 
could equal male college students in intel- 
lectual achievement if they had the same 
advantages. The establishment of the 
Oread was to carry out his original con- 
ception, and his plans were worked out 
without asking advice or assistance from 
any one. 

The building was to resemble a feudal 
castle of the Middle Ages. It was to be 
quadrangular in form, with an inner court 
about 170 feet square. Circular towers, 50 
feet in diameter and four stories high, were 
to be placed at the four corners. These 
were to be connected by four halls, each 
three stories high, and forty feet deep, to be 
used for dormitories, recitation-rooms and 
other apartments such as an institution 
would require. The north tower was com- 
pleted in 1849, the south in 1850, and the 
east hall connecting these towers, in 1852. 
The other parts of this remarkable structure 
were never begun. The stone used in con- 
structing the building was quarried from 
the hill. 

Mr. Thayer called the new school " The 

The Public Schools 65 

Oread Collegiate Institute," and named the 
hill on which it stands, Mt. Oread. 

The school was opened in 1849, and, upon 
the completion of the east hall in 1852, be- 
came very popular. The boarding pupils 
filled the building, while the day pupils 
brought the whole number in attendance up 
to one hundred and fifty. 

Three departments were established, the 
primary, academic and collegiate; the lat- 
ter offering a four years' course modelled 
after that of Brown University. 

Mr. Thayer assumed the entire burden of 
responsibility, and made the following state- 
ment as to the school in one of the early 
catalogues : — 

" Individual effort originated and has 
thus far sustained this institution. It has 
received no endowment from private mu- 
nificence or public bounty, except good 
wishes and liberal patronage. This is all 
the endowment it will receive in the future. 
We hope that its patronage will never be 
prompted by any feelings of comparison or 
condescension. We sell education at cost. 
If our merchandise is not worth the price, 
or if we have brought wares to the market 

66 The Story of Worcester 

for which there is no demand, we ask no 
one to share our loss." 

He remained as principal until 1857, 
when he resigned to enter upon his duties 
as a representative in Congress. 

The Institution was continued until 1881, 
when it was closed. 


This college was founded by Right Rev- 
erend Benedict J. Fenwick, second bishop 
of Boston. His wish was to establish in 
this diocese an institution which should fur- 
nish secular education of the highest order 
and imbue its students with the principles 
of the Catholic faith. 

Rev. James Fitton of Boston, in 1840, 
had erected on Packachoag Hill, or Hill 
of Pleasant Springs, Mount St. James Sem- 
inary. In 1842 he presented this building, 
with about sixty acres, to the Bishop. The 
building being unsuitable, a college was 
built, the corner-stone of which was laid 
June 21, 1843. 

In 1852 the college was destroyed by fire 
and the loss was total. The friends of the 
college, however, were not discouraged, 

The Public Schools 67 

and in 1853 ^^e college, enlarged and re- 
modelled, was again opened. 

In order to bestow the degree of Bache- 
lor of Arts it was necessary to be incorpo- 
rated by the Commonwealth of Massachu- 
setts. In 1849 the college petitioned for a 
charter, but was given leave to withdraw. 
Georgetown College came to the relief and 
conferred the degrees of the first class, and 
of all succeeding classes until 1865. 

Meanwhile, the institution had made 
many friends. Governor John A. Andrew 
visited it in 1862, and presided at the com- 
mencement in 1863. He interested himself 
in procuring a charter for the college, and 
the Legislature of 1865 Passed a bill, with- 
out opposition, granting the charter. 

Governor Alexander H. Bullock, at the 
commencement in 1868, said, alluding to 
the unsuccessful effort to obtain a charter, 
that he had been deeply impressed by the 
manner in which the friends of the college 
hid all signs of disappointment. They ex- 
hibited a patience, which, under such cir- 
cumstances, he should hardly have dared to 
expect from many Christian denomina- 

68 The Story of Worcester 

This was the first Catholic college in 
New England. 

There have been many changes since 
then. The old college building has been 
greatly enlarged, a new dormitory built, 
and Fitton Field, one of the finest athletic 
grounds in the country, laid out. 

In June, 1905, President Roosevelt vis- 
ited Holy Cross College and Clark Col- 


This institution was founded by John 
Boynton of Templeton, in 1865. He set 
apart the sum of $100,000 for the endow- 
ment and perpetual support of the school. 
Hon. Stephen Salisbury, Sr., and Hon. 
Stephen Salisbury, Jr., were liberal con- 
tributors. This school was opened in 1868, 
and was one of the first of its class in the 
country. It has been recognized as one of 
the leading scientific schools, and its meth- 
ods have been extensively copied. 

The Technical Institute educates young 
men to be specialists. 

There are several large and well- 
equipped buildings — the Salisbury labo- 

The Public Schools 69 

ratories of physics and chemistry; the ex- 
tensive Washburn shops; engineering lab- 
oratories for civil and mechanical engineer- 
ing; the power laboratory; the foundry; 
an experimental hydraulic plant, and an 
electrical engineering laboratory. 

The Worcester Polytechnical Institute 
was the first school in the country to estab- 
lish workshops as an adjunct to the training 
of the engineer. 

The name, Worcester County Free In- 
stitute of Industrial Science, by which it 
was first known, was changed to the present 


This school was authorized by an act of 
the Legislature in 1871, and was opened in 


" The design of the school is strictly pro- 
fessional ; that is, to prepare in the best pos- 
sible manner the pupils for the work of 
organizing, governing and teaching the 
public schools of the Commonwealth. To 
this end, there must be thorough knowl- 
edge: first, of the branches of learning re- 
quired to be taught in the schools; sec- 

70 The Story of Worcester 

ond, of the best methods of teaching these 
branches; and third, of right mental train- 

'^ Every opportunity is seized to give pu- 
pils the benefit of whatever tends to fit them 
for the work of teaching. The spirit of 
this endeavor pervades the whole school, 
influences the mode and character of most 
of the exercises, and so imparts a tone which 
determines whatever of distinct character 
the Normal School possessed." 


Clark University was founded by Jonas 
G. Clark, a native of Worcester County, 
who provided an endowment of $2,000,000. 

It was the desire of the founder that the 
highest possible academic standards be here 
forever maintained; that special opportu- 
nities and inducements be ofi^ered to re- 
search work; that to this end the instructors 
be not overburdened with teaching and ex- 
aminations; that all available experience, 
both of the older countries and of our own, 
be freely utilized, and that the great oppor- 
tunity'' of a new foundation in this land and 
age be diligently explored and improved. 

The Public Schools 71 

He chose Worcester because its location 
is central among the best colleges of the 
East, and because he believed the culture 
of the city would ensure that enlightened 
public opinion, indispensable in maintain- 
ing these educational standards at their 

On April 3, 1888, G. Stanley Hall, then 
a professor at Johns Hopkins University, 
was invited to the presidency. The open- 
ing exercises were held October 2, 1889. 
General Charles Devens presided. 

The work of the University appeals only 
to advanced men, who desire to specialize 
in one or more of the fundamental sciences. 
The work is post-graduate. It is a training- 
school for professors. 

Clark University and the Catholic Uni- 
versity at Washington are the only Univer- 
sities in America devoted solely to graduate 


The Collegiate Department of Clark 
University was established in 1901 by the 
late Jonas G. Clark, in the belief that, by 
careful economy of his time, the average 
student could materially lessen the length' 

72 The Story of Worcester 

of his college course without affecting his 
real preparation for his life work. 

In accordance, therefore, with the will of 
the founder, the college offers to young men 
a regular three years' course of instruction, 
leading in all departments to the degree of 
Bachelor of Arts. 


G. Stanley Hall was born in Ashfield, 
Massachusetts, in 1846. He was graduated 
from Williams College in 1867. From col- 
lege he went to the Union Theological Sem- 
inary where he did a year's work. He 
spent two years in Germany in the study 
of philosophy, after which he returned to 
the Seminary and was graduated in 1871. 
He was never ordained. 

In 1872 he was appointed professor of 
philosophy at Antioch College, Ohio, where 
he remained for four years. He resigned 
in 1876 to accept an instructorship at Har- 
vard University, but after a year he went 
to Europe, where he passed three years in 
scientific study. 

On his return to America he received the 
appointment of lecturer on contemporary 

The Public Schools 73 

psychology at Harvard. In 1881 Dr. Hall 
was called to Johns Hopkins University 
and remained there until he received the 
appointment of president of Clark Uni- 

President Hall is in much demand as a 
public speaker. His fresh points of view; 
his fund of universal information and ex- 
perience; his conversational ease and un- 
reserve; his apt illustrations and quaint 
humor, render his utterances always inter- 

Dr. Hall has written an important book 
on " Adolescence " and contributed many 
articles to scientific journals. 



AN examination of the map published 
by Clarendon Harris in 1829, shows 
only twenty-three streets and lanes. 
Main Street w^as then, as now^, the princi- 
pal avenue of the town. The only street 
shown west of Main is Pleasant Street. To 
the east are Market (unnamed), School, 
Thomas, Central, Mechanic, Front and 
South or Park Street. Union Street is 
named Middle, and extends from Thomas 
to Market Street. Leading from Front 
Street, Bigelow Place is given (unnamed) ; 
Church extends from Park to Mechanic; 
Tremont is called Quinsigamond Street, 
and Bridge is named Cross Street. Frank- 
lin is shown, as is Temple (unnamed). 

The course of the Blackstone Canal and 
the large basin at Washington Square is 
carefully drawn on this map. This basin 
occupied the land covered by the new 
Union Station. 

V i7 

o "" 

Worcester of 1830 75 

The Town Hall was built in 1825 and 
enlarged in 1841. 

The Common presented a very different 
appearance in 1840 from that which it does 
to-day. The railroad crossed it, exactly 
where the driveway is, behind our City 
Hall. Two streets ran diagonally across 
the Common; one from Front to Park 
Street, with a guide-board at the Front- 
Street end, informing the traveller that it 
was the road to Millbury and Sutton; the 
other was from Park to Front Street, near 
the present site of the Soldiers' Monument. 
The two main paths to-day follow the lines 
of these roads. 

The burial-ground was situated at the 
east end of the Common and was bounded 
by a low stone wall. On the southeast cor- 
ner stood a one-story wooden schoolhouse, 
with a cupola and bell. This was the South 
Boys' Primary School. Next to it was the 
town Pound. On the site of the Soldiers' 
Monument was a brick schoolhouse, which 
was built in 1840. Four rows of stalls were 
put up on the north side, near Front Street. 
These were used for the exhibition of cattle, 
swine and sheep. 




in Worcester August 12, 1739. At 
an early age he was apprenticed to 
a blacksmith and followed that trade up to 
the time of his death. He was an energetic 
and prosperous young man and ranked 
among the leaders of the young people. 

Many of our most prominent citizens 
before the Revolution were Tories or Loy- 
alists. Bigelow belonged to the opposite 
party, the Whigs. He was elected a dele- 
gate to the Provincial Congress at its first 
and second sessions. 

He led the " Minute-men " to Cam- 
bridge. Soon after this, Congress commis- 

Biographies 77 

sioned him as major, and as such he com- 
manded one division of Arnold's army in 
the expedition against Quebec. Here he 
was made a prisoner by the British. After 
his exchange he was promoted to lieuten- 
ant-colonel of the 15th Regiment, Massa- 
chusetts Troop of the Continental Line. 
He took part in the battle of Saratoga, and 
was at the surrender of Burgoyne. 

After the war he was for a short time 
stationed at West Point. He was next given 
command of the National Arsenal at 
Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Timothy Bigelow left the army a poor 
man and broken down in health. Times 
had changed. He was unable to support 
his family decently by his labors as a black- 
smith. His family consisted of a wife and 
six children. Unable to get the money due 
him for his services as a soldier, he fell into 
debt. On February 15, 1790, he was ar- 
rested for debt and thrown into jail. He 
was paroled and at the time of his death 
was practically a free man. He died 
March 31, 1790, at the age of fifty-one. 

His grandson. Colonel Timothy Bigelow 
Lawrence of Boston, presented to the City 

78 The Story of Worcester 

of Worcester on April 19, 1861, the Bige- 
low monument on the Common. 

There is a mountain in Maine named 
after Timothy Bigelow. This mountain is 
near the head of the Kennebec River. 
While with General Benedict Arnold's 
army, he ascended it for the purpose of 
exploration. Without doubt he was the 
first white man to climb it, and the peak 
received the name of " Bigelow Moun- 


The first Worcester printer, Isaiah 
Thomas, was born in Boston in 1749. At 
the age of seventeen he went to Nova Sco- 
tia, where he had charge of printing and 
editing '' The Halifax Gazette." His re- 
bellious criticisms of the British Stamp Act 
necessitated his leaving the place. After 
trying his fortune in several places he re- 
turned to Boston at the age of twenty-one, 
and began publishing '' The Massachusetts 
Spy." The first number was issued July 17, 

His open utterances against the action 
of the British government brought him into 

Biographies 79 

conflict with the authorities. Finally the 
British soldiers openly threatened him. He 
was induced, in 1775, to pack up his press 
and type and send them privately to 
Worcester, a few days before the battle of 
Lexington. Colonel Bigelow, aided by two 
friends, undertook the difficult and danger- 
ous task of moving his goods. They chose 
a dark night and ferried the press and ma- 
terial to Charlestown, and thence trans- 
ported them to Worcester. The press was 
set up and worked, at first, in the basement 
of Timothy Bigelow's house. 

Isaiah Thomas went to Lexington and 
joined the militia in opposing the King's 
troops on the 19th of April. On the twen- 
tieth, he came to Worcester and opened 
a printing-office. He reestablished ''The 
Massachusetts Spy," the first number of 
which appeared here, May 3, 1775. In this 
issue was printed an account of the battle of 
Lexington, of which he was an eye-witness. 
This was the first printing done in any in- 
land city in New England. 

Mr. Thomas established printing-offices 
in various places and, besides, was book- 
seller, binder and manufacturer of paper. 

80 The Story of Worcester 

He established a paper mill in Quinsiga- 
mond Village, on the present site of the 
south works of the American Steel and 
Wire Company. 

The American Antiquarian Society was 
founded by him in 1812, and he was its 
first president. To this society he gave a 
valuable library. The first building of the 
Society, which still stands on Summer 
Street, was built through his generosity in 

The site of the County Court House was 
given by him. In 1806 he presented to the 
town the street which bears his name, and 
also the land where the schoolhouse now 

Soon after coming to Worcester, in 1775, 
he was appointed postmaster of the town 
by Benjamin Franklin, then postmaster- 

He died in 1831 and was buried in the 
Mechanic-Street burial-ground. When this 
burying-ground was destroyed in 1878, his 
tomb was rebuilt in Rural Cemetery, and 
the remains of Mr. Thomas were put in 
their final resting-place with Masonic 


Biographies 81 


The first Levi Lincoln was a member 
of Congress, acting secretary of state and 
attorney-general in Jefferson's Cabinet, 
lieutenant-governor, and, at the death of 
Governor Sullivan, governor of Massa- 

One writer says of him : — 

" For a period of nearly forty years he 
was in active life and bore a leading part, 
amid vast and important changes in our 
community, such as none of the present 
generation can be called upon to witness. 
He was without question at the head of the 
Bar, from the close of the Revolution, till 
he left our courts." 

His son, Levi Lincoln, was graduated 
from Harvard College in 1802. He was 
a member of both branches of the General 
Court, judge of the Supreme Court, col- 
lector of the Port of Boston, governor of 
Massachusetts for nine years, member of 
Congress for six years, and the first mayor 
of Worcester. 

Another son, Enoch, was a member of 
Congress from Maine and was governor of 
that state for three successive terms. 

82 The Story of Worcester 


For a quarter of a century the name of 
John Davis was intimately associated with 
the councils of his native state or with those 
of the nation. During that period, he bore 
a part in public affairs which will identify 
him with the history of his times and give 
him a position among the wise and patriotic 
statesmen of his period. 

John Davis was born January 13, 1783, 
in Northborough, Worcester County. He 
prepared for college at Leicester Academy 
and was graduated from Yale in 181 2. 

Having selected law for his profession, 
he entered upon the study in the office of 
Hon. Francis Blake of Worcester. In 1825 
he was elected to the National House of 
Representatives and served there for eight 
years. He became governor of Massachu- 
setts in 1834. The Legislature of the state 
elected him United States senator in 1835. 

He returned to Massachusetts in 1841, to 
serve again as governor. Upon the death 
of Senator Isaac C. Bates, Davis was again 
elected United States senator and served 
until 1853, when, at the ripe age of seventy, 
he retired to private life. 

Biographies 83 

It will be seen that " Honest " John 
Davis, as he was called, served eight years 
as representative in Congress, three years 
as governor of Massachusetts, and fourteen 
years as United States senator; making 
twenty-five years spent in the public service. 


Eli Thayer was born in Mendon, Mass., 
June II, 1819. He prepared for college in 
the " Worcester Manual Labor School," 
and was graduated from Brown University 
in 1845. His first occupation was that of 
teacher in the Worcester Academy and 
after a short time he became its principal. 
In 1849, he resigned this position in order 
to assume the management of his own 
school, The Oread. 

He took an active interest in political life, 
and was a member of the school board in 
1852, alderman in 1853, and representative 
in the State Legislature in 1853-1854. 

It was in 1854, ^^^^ ^^ proposed the re- 
markable scheme which has made his name 
one of the important ones in the history of 
our country. He planned to colonize Kan- 
sas, which was opened for settlement as a 

S4 The Story of Worcester 

territory in 1854, with enough anti-slavery 
supporters to make it a free state. Mr. 
Thayer organized the Emigrant Aid Com- 
pany and had it incorporated. 

Charles Sumner said that he would 
rather have the credit that is due to Eli 
Thayer than be the hero of New Orleans. 

President William H. Taft, in his ad- 
dress at Topeka, May 30, 1904, said: — 

" Eli Thayer travelled from town to 
town in the north, soliciting aid for his emi- 
gration society, and recruiting the ranks of 
the small bands of settlers already in Kan- 
sas, or on their way there. When it became 
necessary to have guns, Mr. Thayer ob- 
tained them in the East, and sent them to 
his fellows in Kansas. Mr. Charles Rob- 
inson superintended and guided the move- 
ment in Kansas itself. With their lives 
often at stake, nothing daunted or discour- 
aged the two patriots. They sacrificed 
everything but honor and honesty to the 
pursuit of the one purpose, that Kansas, 
when admitted, should be admitted as a 
free state. 

'' There are no greater heroes in the his- 
tory of this country than Eli Thayer of 

Biographies 85 

Massachusetts and Charles Robinson of 
Kansas, who almost alone and single- 
handed entered upon the work of peopling 
a vast territory with free and brave men, 
so as forever to exclude human slavery from 
its limits." 

Dr. Edward Everett Hale paid the 
following well-deserved tribute to his 
friend: — • 

" Hon. Eli Thayer, who founded The 
Oread Institute, was a remarkable person, 
to whom this country is more indebted than 
the country knows. At the moment when 
the Southern leaders chose to throw Kansas 
and Nebraska open to all immigrants, Mr. 
Thayer accepted the challenge. Before the 
Act of Congress was passed, he had an act 
passed by our Legislature to form an Emi- 
grant Aid Company. The consequence of 
that prompt action of his was that Kan- 
sas became almost immediately a free 

Eli Thayer was elected to Congress in 
1856, and served two terms. Through his 
statesman-like action, Oregon was admitted 
to the Union in 1859. 

Under President Lincoln, he was ap- 

86 The Story of Worcester 

pointed a special and confidential agent of 
the Treasury Department. 

In 1856 he organized a company for the 
purpose of settling some of the border 
states with anti-slavery settlers, and the 
town of Ceredo, Virginia, was founded. 
He advocated the military occupancy of 
Florida, settlements of Americans in Cen- 
tral America, and the abolition of the Mor- 
mon evil. 

Besides his interests in educational and 
political matters, he took a deep interest in 
matters of invention, and often acted as ref- 
eree in such matters. He invented a hy- 
draulic elevator, a sectional safety steam- 
boiler, and an automatic boiler-cleaner. 

Mr. Thayer laid out many of the streets 
in the neighborhood of The Oread, and as- 
sisted materially in developing the southern 
part of the city as a manufacturing district. 

The Adriatic Mills on Southgate Street, 
and the shop near the South Worcester 
Depot known as the Junction Shop, for- 
merly occupied by the Knowles Loom 
Works, were built by him. 

Mr. Thayer died in Worcester, April 15, 

Biographies 87 


Diplomat and Historian 

George Bancroft was born in Worcester, 
October 3, 1800, and died in Washington, 
D. C, January 17, 1891. He was the son 
of Rev. Aaron Bancroft, a Unitarian min- 
ister. Bancroft fitted for college at Phillips 
Exeter Academy, entered Harvard College 
at the age of thirteen, and graduated before 
he was seventeen. 

President Van Buren appointed him col- 
lector of the Port at Boston, 1834-1841. 
In 1845 he was made secretary of the navy 
under President Polk, and planned and 
established the Naval Academy at Annap- 
olis, Maryland. He was minister to Eng- 
land in 1 846- 1 849 and to Berlin, 1867 to 


George Bancroft was the author of many 
historical works, but the one that made him 
famous was his " History of the United 
States." The first volume of this history 
was published in 1834 but it was fifty years 
later that the work was finished. 

There is in Rural Cemetery, where his 
body rests, a beautiful monument upon 
which is the following inscription: — 

S8 The Story of Worcester 

" Historian of America, he made it the 
high purpose of a life which nearly spanned 
a century to show her advancement of man, 
and from the rare resources of his genius, 
his learning and his labor, to ennoble the 
story of her birth." 


Charles Devens was born in Charles- 
town, Mass., April 4, 1820, and died Jan- 
uary 7, 1891. His great-grandfather, Rich- 
ard Devens, was a member of the Commit- 
tee of Safety and Commissary General of 
Massachusetts during the Revolutionary 
War. General Devens was graduated from 
Harvard College in 1840, and was admit- 
ted to the bar in 1844. 

Worcester became his home in 1854, and 
he entered partnership with George F. 
Hoar and J. Henry Hill. 

When news of the firing on Fort Sumter 
reached Worcester, Charles Devens aban- 
doned his law practice, telegraphed the 
ofTer of his services to the Governor, and 
was appointed major of the 3rd Battalion 
Rifles. In July, 1861, he was made colonel 
of the 15th Regiment, and in his first battle 

Biographies 89 

at Ball's Bluff was slightly wounded. In 
1862 he was made brigadier-general and 
was wounded at the battle near Chickahom- 
iny Bridge. 

General Devens served under General 
Franklin, General Newton, and General 
Hancock. In May, 1863, ^^ was severely 
wounded at Chancellorsville, but returned 
and served under General Grant. 

At the battle of Cold Harbor, June 3, 
1864, he was disabled by rheumatism, and, 
being unable to sit upon his horse, was car- 
ried on a stretcher up and down the line. 
General Devens was given the command of 
the Third Division of the 24th Corps, and 
led the first Federal troops into the city 
of Richmond. He was the first military 
governor of Richmond. 

In 1866 General Devens returned to 
Worcester and resumed the practice of law. 
Governor Alexander H. Bullock appointed 
him judge of the Superior Court of Mas- 
sachusetts. Governor Washburn, six years 
later, promoted him to the bench of the 
Supreme Judicial Court. President Hayes 
appointed him attorney-general. At the 
close of Hayes's administration he returned 

90 The Story of Worcester 

to Massachusetts. He was reappointed 
judge of the Supreme Court by Governor 
John D. Long. 

After a brief illness, he died in 1891, and 
was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery. 


George Frisbie Hoar was born in Con- 
cord, Massachusetts, August 29, 1826, and 
died in Worcester, September 30, 1904. 

Mr. Hoar was of an historic family. His 
great-grandfather was an officer in the Rev- 
olutionary War; his maternal grandfather, 
Roger Sherman, a signer of the Declaration 
of Independence ; his own father, a member 
of Congress from Massachusetts and an able 
lawyer and statesman. 

He was graduated from Harvard College 
in 1846, and began to practise law in 
Worcester. In 1852 he was elected to the 
Massachusetts House of Representatives, 
and in 1857 to the State Senate. He served 
in the National House of Representatives 
from 1869 to 1877, and in the United States 
Senate from 1877 to the time of his death. 

Mr. Hoar was manager in behalf of the 
House of Representatives in the Belknap 

Biographies 91 

Impeachment Trial, and a member of the 
Electoral Commission which decided the 
Hayes-Tilden Contest. His service as 
United States Congressman covered a pe- 
riod of 35 years. He was known as '' The 
Old Man Eloquent.'^ 

" The lesson which I have learned in life, 
which has been impressed upon me daily 
and more deeply as I grow old, is the lesson 
of Good Will and Good Hope. I believe 
that today is better than yesterday, and that 
tomorrow will be better than today. I 
believe that, in spite of many errors and 
wrongs and even crimes, my country^men of 
all classes desire what is good, and not what 
is evil. 

" If my life is worth anything it has been 
because I have insisted, to the best of my 
ability, that these three things — love of 
God, love of country, and manhood, are the 
essential and fundamental things, and that 
race, color and creed are unessential and 


Worcester has furnished five governors 
to Massachusetts: Levi Lincoln, who be- 

92 The Story of Worcester 

came governor in 1808 upon the death of 
Governor Sullivan; his son, Levi Lincoln, 
who served for nine years from 1825 to 
1834; John Davis, known by his contem- 
poraries as " Honest John Davis," in 1834 
and 1841 to 1843; Emory Washburn, the 
last Whig governor of the Commonwealth, 
in 1854; and Alexander H. Bullock, who 
was Speaker of the House of Representa- 
tives during the Civil War and the succes- 
sor (1866- 1 869) of Governor John A. 




THIS monument was erected in 1861, 
to the memory of Colonel Timothy 
Bigelow, by his great-grandson, 
Colonel Timothy Bigelow Lawrence of 
Boston. The design is Gothic and the ma- 
terial is white Italian marble. The follow- 
ing inscriptions are on the monument. 
On the front face in raised letters: — 
Timothy Bigelow 

On the right face : — 

Aug. 12, 1739. 

March 31, 1790. 

On the south side : — 

In Memory of 

The Colonel of the 15th Mass. Reg*t. 

Of the Continental Army 

In the War of Independence 

This Monument 

Is erected by His Great Grandson 

Timothy Bigelow Lawrence 

Anno Domini 1861. 

94 The Story of Worcester 

On the east side : — 




Verplanck's Point 

Valley Forge 



In 1866 Mayor James B. Blake suggested 
to the city government, that a movement be 
started, to erect a monument to the memory 
of the dead soldiers. A committee was ap- 
pointed and $11,240.20 was collected. In 
1 87 1 this sum had grown to $15,000. The 
city voted to appropriate $35,000, making 
a total of $50,000, which was the cost of the 

Randolph Rogers of Rome was the sculp- 

The monument was dedicated July 15, 
1874. Its height is 65 feet. Upon the but- 
tresses from each corner stand figures in 
bronze, representing the infantry, cavalry, 
artillery and navy branches. There are 
bronze profiles of President Lincoln and 
Governor Andrew. In bas-relief is de- 
picted "The Dying Soldier." A bronze 
tablet bears this inscription: — 

" Erected by the People of Worcester to 

Monuments 95 

the Memory of her Sons who died for the 
Unity of the Republic. A. D. 1861-1865." 
Between the bronze statues are four tab- 
lets, upon which are inscribed the names of 
398 heroes, whose memory is perpetuated. 
A Corinthian cap upon a Roman column 
supports a semi-globe upon which stands 
the Goddess of Victory. At each of the 
four corners of the base are four inverted 
bronze cannons, which were captured from 
the Confederate troops. 


A meeting of prominent citizens was 
called in 1892 at the Worcester Club, at the 
suggestion of Senator Hoar, to consider the 
erection of a monument to General Devens. 
In 1902, at the request of Senator Hoar, the 
State Legislature passed an act authorizing 
the cities and towns of Worcester County 
to contribute money for erecting in front of 
the Court House a bronze equestrian statue 
of General Devens. 

The County gave $5,000, the City of 
Worcester $7,500, and the towns and con- 
tributions of citizens swelled the total. 

Contracts were made with Daniel C. 

96 The Story of Worcester 

French and Edward C. Potter for a 
statue, for a sum not to exceed $30,000, and 
with George D. Webb for the granite ped- 
estal, costing $5,800. The cost of the statue 
complete was $40,000. The monument was 
dedicated July 4, 1907. 

The following inscriptions appear on the 
pedestal: — 

On the west end : — 

Charles Devens 

Soldier, Orator, Jurist 


Major, Third Battalion Mass. Rifles 

April, 1861. 

Colonel, Fifteenth Regiment Mass. Vol. Infantry 

July, 1861. 

Brigadier General, United States Volunteers 


Brevet Major General, United States Volunteers 


Associate Justice, Superior Court of Mass. 

April, 1867. 

Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Mass. 


Attorney General of the United States 


Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Mass. 

Monuments 97 

On the east end: — 


General Devens 

and the 

Men of Worcester County 

In the War for the Union 


On the other sides are the names of the 
Worcester County Regiments, Battalions 
and Companies, and their cities and towns. 


This monument stands on the plot at the 
northwest corner of the City Hall, and was 
dedicated June 26, 1908. It bears the fol- 
lowing inscriptions: 

On the west or front face : — 

George Frisbie Hoar 

Born in Concord Aug. 29, 1826 

Died in Worcester Sept. 30, 1904. 

Lawyer, Scholar, Orator, Statesman. 

Citizen of Worcester, 

For More Than Half A Century. 

Member of Massachusetts House of 

Representatives 1852 

Member of Massachusetts Senate 1857 

City Solicitor of Worcester i860 

Member of United States House of 

Representatives 1 869-1 877 

Senator of the United States 1 877-1 904 

98 The Story of Worcester 

On the north face : — 

Puritan and Patriot by Inheritance, Unsullied in Character, 

Lover of Liberty, Champion of the Oppressed 

His Life Embodied The Traditions of Massachusetts 

And Of the Founders of the Republic 

His High Ideals, Zeal for Learning and Constructive 

Statesmanship Made Imperishable Contributions 

To A Great Period of American History. 

This Statue is Raised 

By Gifts From Thirty Thousand of his Townsfolk 

That The People For All Time May be Inspired By 

The Memory 

Of His Personal Virtues and Public Service. 

On the south face : — 

I believe in God, the Living God, in the American 
People, a Fine and Brave People Who Do Not 
Bow the Neck or Bend the Knee to Any Other and 
who Desire No Other to Bow the Neck or Bend 
the Knee to them. I believe that Liberty, good 
Government, Free Institutions, cannot be Given 
by Any One People to Any Other, but Must be 
Wrought out for Each by Itself, Slowly, Painfully, 
in the Process of Years or Centuries, As the Oak 
Adds Ring to Ring. I believe That Whatever 
Clouds May Darken the Horizon, the World is 
Growing Better, that Today is Better than 
Yesterday, and Tomorrow will be Better than 

Monuments 99 


There is a tablet marking the Hancock 
House at the corner of Grove and Lexing- 
ton Streets : — 

Built About 1 741 by Thomas Henchman on Lincoln Street 

and For Many Years Owned by Governor 

John Hancock 

Home of Levi Lincoln 

Attorney-General of the United States, 

Levi Lincoln Second, and John Davis, 

Governors of Massachusetts. 

Tablet marking the site of the Bigelow 
Mansion at Lincoln Square: — 

On this Site Stood the Mansion of 

Timothy Bigelow 

Leader of the Minute Men 

From Worcester, April 19, 1775. 

Colonel of the 

Fifteenth Massachusetts Regiment. 

Tablet on the Isaiah Thomas House, in 
the rear of Court House Hill: — 

Residence from 1785 to 1831 Of 

Isaiah Thomas 

Patriot, Printer, Author. 

He Was the Founder Of 

The Massachusetts Spy 

And the American Antiquarian Society. 

Tablet placed in his honor by 

The Colonel Timothy Bigelow Chapter D. A. R. 1904. 

100 The Story of Worcester 

A bronze star on the City Hall plaza 
marks the spot where Isaiah Thomas read 
the Declaration of Independence to the in- 
habitants of Worcester. A bronze tablet 
tells this story: — 

There July 14, 1776, the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence was First PubHcly Read in New England 
by Isaiah Thomas, From the Western Porch Of 
the Meeting-House, Late known as the Old 
South Church. 

A tablet marks the site of the schoolhouse 
where John Adams taught. (This tablet 
is placed on the fence between the Court 
House and the American Antiquarian So- 
ciety building, on Court Hill) : — 

In Front of This Tablet 


The First Schoolhouse 

In Worcester 


John Adams 

Second President of the United States 

Taught 1755-1758. 

On Heywood Street this inscription is 
carved in a boulder: — 

Monuments 101 

On This Site 

In 1713 

Major Jonas Rice 

Made the First 

Permanent Settlement 

In Worcester. 

Placed by 

The Worcester Society of Antiquity, 

On a boulder on Salisbury Street, near 
Massachusetts Avenue, appears the follow- 
ing inscription: — 

Twenty Feet 
East of This Stone 

Stood the House in which 

George Bancroft 

Historian of America 

Son of Aaron and Lucretia 
(Chandler) Bancroft 

Was born October 3, 1800. 

Placed by 
Citizens of Worcester 
October 3, 190O0 

These inscriptions are on tablets at the 
easterly entrance to Elm Park: — 

102 The Story of Worcester 

On the left: — 

Elm Park 
" As Thought and Wrought " 


Edward Winslow Lincoln 

Park Commissioner 

I 870-1 898 

Erected By The Citizens of Worcester 


On the right : — 

This Section of Elm Park 

Containing 27 Acres Deeded to the 

City of Worcester March 17 

And March 20, 1854, By 

Levi Lincoln and John Hammond 

Was the First Purchase of Land for 

A Public Park in the United States. 

Two tablets of bronze adorn the main 
walls of the corridor of the City Hall. The 
tablet on the north side bears the following 
inscription written by Senator Hoar: — 


in 1719 

the inhabitants of Worcester 

erected the House of Worship 

rebuilt in 1763 

taken down in 1887. 

From its Porch Isaiah Thomas 

July 14, 1776, read to the People 

the Declaration of Independence. 

Monuments 103 

It was in that House later known as the 

Old South Meeting House 

and just north where stood until 1898 

the Hall built in 1825 

that the People of Worcester 

have governed themselves from 

the beginning as Town and City 

in Freedom and Honor 

The Common hard by 

set apart as a Training Field in 1634 

was the principal Burial Place 

of Worcester from 1724 to 1824 

Here gathered the soldiers 

of Worcester County 

for the War of Independence 

and the War for the Union. 


June 28, 1848 

was the great Mass Meeting 

which organized 

the political Movement 

begun to preserve to Freedom 

the vast Territory 

between the Mississippi and the Pacific 

and ended by the Abolition 
of Slavery Throughout the Continent. 

The tablet on the south side bears an in- 
scription giving the dates of erection of 



GREAT excitement prevailed in the 
city when the news of the fall of 
Fort Sumter came. At home, on 
the streets, and in the churches, it was the 
sole topic of discussion. Political and sec- 
tarian lines were broken, and all were deter- 
mined to stand by the flag. 

The President called for 75,000 volun- 
teers. Governor Andrew sent an order to 
Worcester for her militia to prepare for 
immediate service. Three companies re- 
sponded at once — the Light Infantry, the 
City Guards and the Emmet Guards. The 
City Guards became Co. A, and the Emmet 
Guards Co. C of the 3rd Battalion Rifles. 
They enlisted for three months. 

The Light Infantry formed a part of the 
gallant Sixth Massachusetts Regiment and 
participated in the memorable march 
through Baltimore. This regiment had the 

106 The Story of Worcester 

distinction of being the first full regiment 
of volunteers to report in Washington. 

In 1855, the Jackson Guards, later the 
Emmet Guards, had been disbanded by 
Governor Gardner of the Know-nothing 
party. In i860 they reorganized and drilled 
in preparation for the war they knew was 
impending. They were the first organiza- 
tion of foreign blood to march to the war. 

The term of service of the City and Em- 
met Guards expired July 19, 1861, but the 
alarm at Washington, caused by the defeat 
at Bull Run, prevented the official dis- 

General Dix said: — 

" Gentleman, your term of service ex- 
pired the 19th and you are entitled to go 
home. If you say so, I will order you trans- 
ported tomorrow, but I had rather you 
would not ask it tomorrow, or for the next 
ten days. You have done your duty and 

Every man in both companies responded 
to this appeal, because they felt they were 
needed. Upon their discharge they re- 
turned home and most of them re-enlisted 
in the regiments then forming in Worcester. 

Worcester in the Civil War 107 

The following regiments were recruited 
in Worcester — the 15th, 21st, 25th, 34th, 
36th, 51st and 57th. 

The colonel of the 15th Regiment was 
Charles Devens, whose statue stands in 
front of the Court House. This regiment 
took part in the battles of Ball's Bluff, 
Antietam, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and 

The 2ist and 25th were part of the Burn- 
side Brigade and later were attached to the 
Army of the Potomac. They participated 
in the battles of Roanoke Island, New- 
bern, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and many 
other important engagements. The Emmet 
Guards formed a large part of Co. E of 
the 25th Regiment and of Co. I of the 50th. 

The colonel of the 51st Regiment was 
Hon. A. B. R. Sprague, who was Mayor 
of Worcester in 1896 and 1897. 

The population of Worcester in i860 was 
less than 25,000, and she gave to the war 
the services of 3,927 men, more than one in 
every eight of the total population. 

" They shared in the shifting lot of the 
Army of the Potomac, from its clouded 
morning to its brilliant close; in the march- 

108 The Story of Worcester 

ings and fightings of the Shenandoah until 
every open field and copse became familiar 
ground; in the early, welcome victories of 
Carolina; in patient trials along the Gulf ;• 
in the turning fortune at New Orleans, Port 
Hudson and Vicksburg; in the tangled 
marches and counter-marches of Tennes- 
see; in every part of the country, in every 
campaign, not excepting that Napoleonic 
excursion of Sherman to the sea." 

The great commanders have testified to 
the courage, endurance and discipline of 
the soldiers from Worcester. 

The records of the Massachusetts Volun- 
teers show that the men from Worcester 
served under the colors of fifty distinct regi- 
ments of infantry, five of cavalry and four- 
teen of artillery. They served in seventeen 
regiments of other states and in nine of the 
United States regular army. 


The flags carried by the following regi- 
ments, all of which were raised in Worces- 
ter, the 15th, 2ist, 25th, 34th, 36th, 51st, 
and 57th are kept in a case, which stands 

Worcester In the Civil War 109 

on the second floor of the City Hall, near 
the Mayor's office. 

The flags captured at Newbern, N. C, 
by Captain Thomas O'Neil of the Emmet 
Guards, and presented by Major M. J. 
McCafTerty to the Free Public Library, are 
also in this case. 



THE companies of the state militia 
stationed in Worcester responded 
to a man when the call for troops 
came at the outbreak of the Spanish War. 
Those who did not go with their companies 
were rejected on account of physical disa- 
bility (defective eyesight for the most 
part), or through family responsibilities. 

Four Worcester companies took an active 
part in this war: Co. A, known as the City 
Guards; Co. C, Light Infantry; Co. H, 
Wellington Rifles; all of the 2nd Regi- 
ment; and Co. G, Emmet Guards, of the 
9th Regiment. 

These companies left for Framingham 
May 3rd and 4th, 1898, and were mustered 
into the United States service as volunteer 

The Spanish-American War 111 

The second regiment started for the front 
on May nth and the Emmets on May 31st. 

The Massachusetts troops were furnished 
with old-fashioned ammunition and every 
shot fired revealed the presence of the sol- 
dier firing. For that reason, the command- 
ing general ordered the volunteers not to 
fire, except to prevent the escape of the 
garrisons in the block houses. Digging 
trenches and throwing up breastworks was 
the chief work, and this they were obliged 
to do without shovels or picks, using knives, 
plates and fingers. 

On the 14th of June news came to the 
tired soldiers that Santiago had surren- 
dered. They then prepared to return home. 
The three companies of the 2nd Regiment 
arrived in Worcester, August 27th, emaci- 
ated and malaria-stricken. 

The 9th Regiment left Santiago for home 
Aug. 24th. When the ship arrived at Mon- 
tauk Point it was met by the health officers, 
who declared that the regiment was in the 
worst condition of any returning. After re- 
maining in camp at Montauk Point (Long 
Island) for a short time, they were allowed 
to return to their homes. 

112 The Story of Worcester 

Lieut-Col. Kellogg of the loth U. S. 
Infantry said of the Emmet Guards, who 
were assigned to serve with his regiment of 
regulars: " Massachusetts should be proud 
of such officers and men. I have never wit- 
nessed in my forty years' service such cool- 
ness and indifference under fire." 


One of the first officers of the regular 
army to lose his life in the Spanish-Amer- 
ican War was a Worcester boy, Lieutenant 
Edmund Nathaniel Benchley. 

He was born in Worcester, May 3, 1876, 
and was educated in the public schools. 
After graduating from the English High 
School he received the appointment of 
cadet at West Point through Congressman 
Joseph H. Walker, and was graduated 
number thirty in the class of 1898. 

His standing in his class entitled him to 
a choice of the infantry, cavalry or artillery 
branches. He chose the infantry because, 
as he said, it would give him opportunity 
for active service. 

Owing to the scarcity of officers the class 
was graduated in April, nearly two months 

The Spanish-American War 113 

before the regular date. Benchley was at 
once commissioned second lieutenant, and 
assigned to the 6th Regiment Infantry, 
United States Army. 

Lieutenant Benchley was given twenty 
days' furlough. He came home, and was 
one of the reviewing party when the local 
companies of the 2nd and 9th Regiments 
left Worcester. 

His regiment landed in Cuba in the lat- 
ter part of June. The battle of San Juan 
took place on July ist. Several companies 
of the regiment were separated from the 
advance portion of the troops while crossing 
the river under a severe artillery fire, and 
the colonel wished to have them brought 
forward at once. 

Captain L. W. V. Kennon, Co. E, 6th 
Regiment Infantry, U. S. A., writing to his 
father, Mr. Charles H. Benchley, says: — 

^' He," meaning the colonel, " called 
Lieutenant Benchley and directed him to 
recross the river and carry orders to the 
battalion and company commanders to 
bring their commands forward at once. He 
started on this important and dangerous 
duty, and gave the orders to some of the 

114 The Story of Worcester 

officers indicated. He had just given it to 
one commander when he received a bullet 
through the heart which killed him in- 

" His military career was brief, brave 
and glorious. He was cool and brave under 
one of the severest fires ever known, and 
he performed his duty nobly and gallantly. 
Had he lived, he would have been brevetted 
for gallantry in action." 




AS early as 1796 the plan of construct- 
ing a canal from Providence to 
Worcester, and opening navigable 
communication between Narragansett Bay 
and the center of Massachusetts, was dis- 
cussed. Nothing was done until 1822, when 
interest in the project was renewed. 

It was in 1826 that the first earth was 
removed in Massachusetts, near Thomas 
Street, Worcester. In 1828 the canal was 
opened to navigation. The building of this 
canal was of far more importance to the 
public than to the stockholders. It was a 
failure financially, although it stimulated 
manufacturing along its banks and assisted 
materially in the prosperity of Worcester. 

The canal started in Worcester, between 

116 The Story of Worcester 

Thomas and Central Streets, ran south- 
erly through the town to Quinsigamond, 
then followed the course of the Blackstone 
River to Providence, R. I. Below Quin- 
sigamond may be seen to-day the tow-path 
along the banks of the Blackstone. The 
canal was discontinued in 1848. 

The building of this canal led to the 
opening of two railroads: the Providence 
and Worcester, and the Boston and Worces- 


The old Boston and Worcester Railroad 
was the earliest incorporated steam road in 
Massachusetts and one of the earliest in the 
country, receiving its charter in 183 1. It 
was completed July 4, 1835. An excursion 
train of twelve cars, drawn by two engines, 
arrived in Worcester after a trip of three 
and one half hours. The engines were 
wood-burners, and all along the road wood 
was piled. 

The depot was located on Foster Street, 
a little south of the Worcester Bank Block. 
The location of the station was changed in 
1839 farther down the street to the present 
site of A. S. Lowell's Block, in order that 

Railroads, Water and Sewerage 117 

the Norwich and Worcester Railroad 
might run into the same building. The 
Boston and Worcester ceased using this 
depot in 1875. 

The Western railroad from Worcester to 
Albany was opened in 1839. 

The Norwich and Worcester was com- 
pleted in 1840, and its freight house was on 
Park Street The trains were brought into 
the depot on tracks running through the 

The Providence and Worcester Railroad 
began operating in 1847, and its trains 
were run into the Norwich and Worcester 
depot. The brick building on Green Street 
was completed in 1854, ^^^ was used as a 
passenger depot. 

Upon the completion of the Union Sta- 
tion in 1875, all the other depots were aban- 
doned for passenger service. 


When Worcester became a city, the in- 
habitants relied mainly upon wells and 
springs for water. A few houses in the 
vicinity of Summer Street were supplied 
with water from Bell Pond. 

118 The Story of Worcester 

In 1864 the city voted to bring water 
from Lynde Brook. 

Four reservoirs, the Kettle Brook sys- 
tem, feed into the Lynde Brook Reservoir 
through a thirty-inch conduit. All the high 
service pressure water comes from the 
Lynde Brook Reservoir. 

In 1867, in order to reduce the high pres- 
sure, the city built Hunt's Reservoir. This 
was discontinued in 1897, and Parsons's 
Reservoir took its place. This reservoir 
balances Tatnuck Brook No. 2, and fur- 
nishes the low pressure water of Worcester. 

There are two large reservoirs in the 
Tatnuck Brook system. 

The Asnebumskit watershed covers an 
area of ten square miles, and when con- 
nected with the Tatnuck Brook system, 
through Kendal Brook, will furnish water 
sufficient for the needs of double the popu- 
lation of 19 10. 

Cesspools and private sewers were used 
in Worcester up to 1866, when the city 
council authorized the construction of pub- 
lic sewers. For a number of years the sew- 

Railroads, Water and Sewerage 119 

age matter was turned into the Blackstone 
River. The people of the Blackstone val- 
ley protested and Worcester was obliged to 
treat the sewage matter chemically. Puri- 
fication works were built below Quinsiga- 
mond Village. The liquid, after scientific 
treatment, enters the Blackstone River, 
practically free from organic matter. 



GROMPTON PARK, opened in 
1888, is situated between Millbury 
Street and Quinsigamond Avenue. 
Area, 15 1-4 acres. 

Dodge Park, presented to the city by Mr. 
Thomas H. Dodge in 1890, lies in the 
northerly section between West Boylston 
Street and Burncoat Street. Area, 13 acres. 

Chandler Hill Park comprises land 
between Shrewsbury and East Shelby 
Streets and includes Chandler Hill. Part 
of this park belonged originally to the state, 
and was intended for insane hospital pur- 
poses. The State Legislature granted the 
land to the city for park purposes in 1887. 
Area, 80 1-3 acres. 

Lincoln Park, on the shore of Lake Quin- 
sigamond, belongs to Mr. H. H. Bigelow, 
who has leased it to the Worcester Consol- 


Page 121 


Page 121 

Parks 121 

idated Street Railroad. It is open to the 

Elm Park, in the western part of the city, 
was purchased in 1854 ^^^ remained unim- 
proved for twenty years, until Mr. Edward 
W. Lincoln, a park commissioner, took 
charge and made it the finest park in 
Worcester. Newton Hill was added to the 
original tract in 1888. Area, 88 acres. 

Greenwood Playground lies on Green- 
wood Street between Tatman and Forsberg 
Streets, and contains 12 2-3 acres. This 
park was obtained by purchase in 1905. 

Institute Park, lying between Salisbury 
Street and Salisbury Pond, was presented to 
the city in 1887 by Hon. Stephen Salisbury. 
Area, 18 acres. 

Lake Park. In 1884 Hon. Edward L. 
Davis and Mr. Horace H. Bigelow deeded 
to the city about 1 10 acres of land bordering 
on Lake Quinsigamond. Mr. Davis also 
gave $5,000 to improve the park and erected 
at his own expense a stone tower, built of 
rough stones gathered from surrounding 
land. Area, no acres. 

Natural History Park, owned by the 
Worcester Natural History Society, bor- 

122 The Story of Worcester 

ders on Lake Quinsigamond, near the north- 
ern end. The money to purchase this park 
was given by Hon. Joseph H. Walker, and 
Mr. Thomas H. Dodge built the pavilion. 

Burncoat Park, near Adams Square, was 
purchased by the city in 1888. Area, 41 1-2 

University Park, on Main Street, oppo- 
site Clark University, was acquired by pur- 
chase in 1887. Area, 14 acres. 

Green Hill Park, purchased from the 
Green heirs in 1905, is the latest addition 
to the park system. This promises to be one 
of the finest parks in central Massachusetts. 
Area, 500 acres. 

Hadwen Park. In 1902 Mr. Obadiah B. 
Hadwen deeded to the city a tract of land 
containing fifty acres. This tract borders 
on Curtis Pond. The only condition which 
went with the gift was that the land should 
be forever devoted to park purposes. Mr. 
Hadwen expressed a disinclination to have 
the park called by his name. 

The Common contains 7 3-4 acres. 

In addition to the parks, playgrounds 
have been established on Vernon Street, in 
Tatnuck, and on Beaver Brook land. 


Page 122 

Clark University is shown in the background. 

Page 122 

Parks 123 


Beaver Brook rises in Holden, flows 
through the westerly part of the city of 
Worcester, and joins the Tatnuck Brook. 

Bell or Bladder Pond is situated on the 
top of Belmont Hill and is part of the water 
system of Worcester. Its name was given 
on account of its resemblance to a bell. 

The Blackstone River. The Tatnuck 
Brook and Kettle Brook unite below Cur- 
tis's Dam. From this point to the pond 
at the central works of the American Wire 
and Steel Co., north of the grounds of Holy 
Cross College, the stream is known as the 
Middle River. The Blackstone River be- 
gins at the upper end of this pond, flows 
through Quinsigamond village and empties 
into Narragansett Bay. 

Curtis Pond in New Worcester lies be- 
tween Webster and Stafford Streets. 

Lynde Brook rises in Leicester, flows 
through Leicester and joins Kettle Brook. 
It is part of the water system of Worcester. 

North Pond, or Indian Lake, lies in the 
extreme northerly part of the city, and ob- 
tains its supply from Mill Brook. It is the 
largest pond lying entirely in Worcester. 

124 The Story of Worcester 

Coes Reservoir lies along Mill Street in 
the southwesterly part of the city. 

Quinsigamond Lake is about four miles 
long and extends from Lincoln Street to the 
town of Grafton. Its western shore is in 
Worcester and its eastern in the town of 

Salisbury Pond lies between Institute 
Park and Grove Street. 


Asnebumskit Hill is the highest eminence 
in the vicinity of Worcester. It is on the 
main road to Paxton, about seven miles 
from the City Hall. 

Chandler or Reservoir Hill is south of 
Belmont Street and is part of East Park. 
It is 721 feet high. 

Green Hill is east of Lincoln Street at 
the end of Green Lane. It is part of 
the park system. This hill is "j^"] feet 

Fairmount or Messinger Hill is north of 
Rural Cemetery and east of Grove Street. 
This hill was part of the land included in 
the bounds of the citadel built by the second 
settlers. It is 620 feet high. 

Parks 125 

Millstone Hill, north of Belmont Street, 
is 760 feet high. 

Newton Hill, part of the park system, lies 
west of Park Avenue and is 672 feet high. 

Oak Hill, between Bloomingdale Road 
and Plantation Street, is 700 feet high. 

Packachoag, or Mount Saint James, 
where Holy Cross College is situated, is in 
the southerly part of Worcester and is 693 
feet high. 

Union Hill or Sagatabscot Hill, where 
Jonas Rice, the first permanent settler, 
lived, lies between Water Street and Graf- 
ton Street. It is 625 feet high. 

Bancroft Heights, west of Salisbury 
Street, near Park Avenue. Height, 720 

Bigelow Hill, Burncoat Street. Height, 
725 feet. 

Hancock Hill, between Salisbury and 
Forest Streets. Height, 780 feet. 

Millstone Hill, north of Belmont Street. 
Height, 760 feet. 

Mt. Ararat, south of Ararat Street. 
Height, 780 feet. 

Parker Hill, Fowler Street. Height, 
1,000 feet 

126 The Story of Worcester 

Wigvvam Hill, Plantation Street. 
Height, 560 feet. 

Winter Hill, Grove Street, near city 
line. Height, 980 feet. 


The first burial place in Worcester was 
on Thomas Street, where the schoolhouse 

A part of the common was used for buri- 
als up to 1824. In 1853 niost of the bodies 
were removed and the headstones that re- 
mained were turned down and covered 
over. The inscriptions were copied by 
William S. Barton. 

The Mechanic-Street burial ground was 
opened in 1795 and used until 1878, when 
all the bodies were removed. Isaiah 
Thomas was buried here. 

The burial ground in East Worcester, 
known as the Pine Street Burial Ground, 
was opened in 1828 and used for about 
thirty years. The Norcross Brothers' 
Works and the Boston & Albany Railroad 
are on land formerly occupied by this ceme- 

The Catholic burial ground near Tat- 

Parks 127 

nuck was opened in 1835, and discontinued 
in 1847. The inscriptions were copied by 
Richard O'Flynn. The bodies were re- 
moved a few years ago and interred in St. 
John's Cemetery. 

Rural Cemetery was opened in 1838. 
The original tract was given by Hon. Dan- 
iel Waldo. This is a private corporation. 

St. John's Cemetery is situated south of 
Cambridge Street and was opened in 1847. 

Notre Dame des Canadiens Cemetery, in 
New Worcester, on Webster Street, is in- 
tended for the interment of French Cath- 
olics. It was opened in 1885. 

Hope Cemetery was opened in 1852 and 
is owned by the city. This cemetery is sit- 
uated in New Worcester. 

The Swedish Cemetery is in New 
Worcester, on Webster Street, and was 
opened in 1885. 




WORCESTER is situated on the 
line of three great railroad sys- 
tems — the Boston & Albany, 
the New York, New Haven and Hartford, 
and the Boston & Maine. 

It has the largest population of any man- 
ufacturing city in the world not on a water- 
way. The largest wire-making plant of the 
American Steel and Wire Company is lo- 
cated here, employing in its three immense 
mills 6,000 workmen. One thousand per- 
sons are employed in the envelope-making 
industry. There are 1,100 manufacturing 
plants, employing 26,000 skilled mechanics. 

The most important industry in the city 
is the manufacture of wire and barbed-wire 
fencing. This business was begun in 1831, 
by Ichabod Washburn and Benjamin God- 

Industries 129 

dard in Northville, where they manufac- 
tured card wire and wire for screws. In 
1835 the business was removed to its present 
location on Grove Street. The central 
plant was built in 1840 and the Quinsiga- 
mond works were opened about 1850. 
Here are manufactured telegraph wire, 
piano wire, and a great variety of iron and 
steel hawsers, cables and ropes. Many tons 
of copper wire are made for electrical pur- 

Next in importance comes the manufac- 
ture of looms. The Crompton and Knowles 
Loom Works are the largest of the kind in 
the world. Looms are made by this firm 
for the manufacture of worsteds, woolens, 
carpets, rugs, plush, duck, ginghams, silk, 
sheeting, print cloth and every type of tex- 
tile fabric. 

The foundation of the business was laid 
by George Crompton in 1851 and Lucius J. 
and F. B. Knowles in 1856. In 1897 these 
two great establishments were consolidated. 

Worcester manufactures more envelopes 
than any other city in the world. The 
United States Envelope Company controls 
the large factories formerly owned by Lo- 

130 The Story of Worcester 

gan, Swift and Brigham, the W. H. Hill 
Company, and the Whitcomb Envelope 
Company. There are several companies, 
independent of the U. S. Envelope Com- 
pany, manufacturing envelopes in Worces- 

Worcester has the largest carpet mill 
in the world controlled by an individual. 
This is owned by M. J. Whittall. 

The manufacture of corsets is an impor- 
tant industry and gives employment to thou- 
sands of persons. 

These Worcester industries are the larg- 
est of their kind in the United States: 
looms, valentines, emery wheels, envelopes, 
corsets, carpets, wire novelties, wire, wire 
springs, leather goods, paper-box machin- 
ery, card clothing, organ keys and reeds, 
paper-making machinery, lunch-wagons, 
textile machinery and skates. 

It is the variety of its industries that has 
made Worcester famous. 

Senator Hoar once said that within a 
radius of twelve miles of Worcester were 
projected more inventions and improve- 
ments contributing to the good of humanity 
than in any other portion of the world; 

Industries 131 

Strengthening his statement with reference 
to the cotton-gin of Eli Whitney; the lathe 
for irregular forms by Thomas Blanchard; 
the sewing machine of Elias Howe, and the 
carpet looms of Erastus Bigelow. 

These four men stand out preeminently 
from a large number of inventors and were 
noted benefactors of their race. 



WORCESTER is divided into ten 
wards, and for convenience in 
voting, the wards are sub-divided 
into precincts. 

The annual municipal election takes 
place on the second Tuesday in December. 

The city government is made up of the 
mayor and the city council. The mayor is 
elected annually and receives a salary of 
$4,000 per year. The city council consists 
of the board of aldermen and the common 
council. Every ward in the city elects one 
alderman, and in addition there is an alder- 
man-at-large, who is elected by all the vo- 
ters of the city. Three councilmen are 
elected by each ward, the elections alter- 
nating, so that each member serves for two 
years. There are, therefore, in our city 
council eleven aldermen and thirty council- 
men who serve without pay. 

The City Government 133 

In the school committee each ward is rep- 
resented by three members, the term of 
office being three years. 

The heads of departments and city treas- 
urer, auditor, city engineer, city solicitor, 
messenger, trustees of Free Public Library, 
of funds, and of hospitals, are elected by 
the city council. 

The mayor appoints the city physician, 
assessors, park commissioners, board of 
health, license commissioners, license board 
and chief of police, subject to the approval 
of the board of aldermen. 

The school committee elects a superin- 
tendent of schools for a term of three years, 
and an assistant superintendent, teachers, 
and truant officers annually. 

Worcester is in the third congressional 

The first state senatorial district of 
Worcester County comprises wards four, 
five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten. The 
second district includes wards one, two and 
three, and the towns of Berlin, Bolton, 
Boylston, Clinton, Harvard, Holden, Lan- 
caster, Sterling and West Boylston. 

On account of the large import trade, 

134 The Story of Worcester 

Worcester, as a convenience to her mer- 
chants, was made a port of entry. The 
custom-house is in the Post Office or Fed- 
eral building. The Deputy Collector of 
Internal Revenue at the Worcester Port of 
Entry, in his report for July, 1908, showed 
that 562 packages from all parts of the 
world were received in Worcester, indicat- 
ing the diversity of the city's business in- 




IN 1674 Thomas Browne, who had set- 
tled on the road between Brittan Square 
and the head of Lake Quinsigamond, 
petitioned that he be allowed " to furnish 
Travelers with wine and strong waters." 
He was granted the license and became the 
first tavern-keeper in Worcester. 

When a second settlement was attempted, 
Nathaniel Henchman was licensed for one 
year, " to keep a house of entertainment for 
Travelers at Quinsigamond." 

In 1719 Captain Moses Rice built a tav- 
ern on the site of the Walker Block, corner 
of Main and Mechanic Streets. He pros- 
pered here for twenty-three years. The 
estate passed into the possession of Judge 
Chandler, and he built a fine mansion. Mr. 
Chandler was a Tory, and his loyalty to 
the King resulted in his banishment and the 

136 The Story of Worcester 

confiscation of his property. His loyalty to 
the Crown and excellent character earned 
for him the title of " the Honest Refugee." 
In 1785, Ephraim Mower purchased the 
property, and the Chandler mansion was 
converted into the Sun Tavern. This hotel 
existed until 1818, when the old mansion 
was removed to Mechanic Street to make 
way for the United States Hotel. This was 
built by William Hovey and kept by him 
and others until 1854. 

The second tavern of Worcester stood on 
the site of the present Bay State House, and 
was kept by father, son and grandson for 
about ninety years. Deacon Daniel Hey- 
wood, the '' Father of the Town," estab- 
lished the tavern in 1722, at the time when 
the town was incorporated. 

The Stearns Tavern was the third, and 
stood fronting on Main Street, very nearly 
where the Lincoln House now stands. The 
estate to w^hich it belonged comprised 
eighty acres, extending westward from 
Main to Sever Streets. This tavern was 
opened in 1732, and Captain Stearns kept 
it for forty years. His widow managed it 
until 1784. 

Old Time Taverns 137 

In the period preceding the Revolution 
this tavern was the favorite resort for the 
Royalists. Here they prepared and signed 
the famous Tory Protest of 1774. This pro- 
test was a remonstrance against the proceed- 
ings of the patriots, and was entered upon 
the town records. The town clerk was 
obliged to blot this out of the records, and 
to be sure that it could not be read, the 
patriots forced him to dip his fingers into 
the ink and rub them over the words. The 
page can still be seen in the town records. 

On July 24, 1776, a number of the patri- 
ots called upon Mrs. Stearns and requested 
permission to take down the sign of the 
" King's Arms," as the hotel was called. 
She cheerfully agreed to their request and 
the offending sign was removed. 

When Mrs. Stearns died, the estate was 
purchased by William Sever. Hon. Levi 
Lincoln married his daughter, Penelope 
Winslow Sever. On the site of the hotel 
Mr. Lincoln built a mansion, which today 
forms the main part of the Lincoln House. 

From 1754 to 1774 Captain John Curtis 
kept a tavern on the Ephraim Curtis estate 
on Lincoln Street. 

138 The Story of Worcester 

Captain Israel Jennison had an inn from 
1782 to 18 15 on Lincoln Street, where now 
stands the City Almshouse. 

On the site of the Sargent Building, at 
the junction of Main and Southbridge 
Streets, Captain William Jones known as 
^' Tory " Jones, kept a tavern from 1770 
to 1777. It was here that two British of- 
ficers were sent by General Gage to get 
information regarding roads and positions 
for fortification. 

The headquarters of the patriots was in 
a tavern on Lincoln Street, just north of 
Lincoln Square. At this time, the tavern 
had as a sign a portrait of John Hancock, 
and was known as " The Hancock Arms." 
During Shays's Rebellion a part of the 
rebel army was sheltered here. 

The Lincoln House 

The Lincoln House was originally the 
mansion house of Governor Levi Lincoln, 
who built it in 1812 and lived there until 
1835, when he erected the house on Elm 
Street. This street was opened by Gov- 
ernor Lincoln, about 1834. In 1835, ^^e 
mansion was sold and converted into a hotel. 

Old Time Taverns 139 

It was called the Worcester House. Later, 
stores were built in front of it, and the en- 
trance was changed to Elm Street. The 
hotel was then called the Lincoln House. 

The Exchange Hotel 

The Exchange Hotel was built in 1784 
by Nathan Patch. In 1807 it passed into 
the hands of Colonel Reuben Sikes of Con- 
necticut, the celebrated stage-coach propri- 
etor. He managed the hotel until his death 
in 1824. 

This was the leading hotel of the county, 
and the centre of the arrival and departure 
of the different stage coaches connecting 
Worcester with other sections of the coun- 
try. Distinguished travellers, judges and 
others connected with the courts, stayed 
there. General Washington took breakfast 
in this hotel, when passing through Worces- 
ter in 1789, and Lafayette rested there, 
on his way to Boston in 1825 to attend the 
dedication of Bunker Hill Monument. 

The Waldo House 

The main part of the present hotel was 
originally the Daniel Waldo mansion. This 

140 The Story of Worcester 

Stood on Main Street, on the site of Me- 
chanics Hall. It was moved back in 1845. 

''The Oaks'' 

The Dr. William Paine house, ''The 
Oaks," on Lincoln Street, opposite Forest 
Avenue, was built about 1778. 

Timothy Paine and his two sons were 
Loyalists. He was one of the Mandamus 
Councillors appointed by the King in 1774. 
The patriots obliged him to resign his office 
and to read his resignation publicly on the 
Common. His son. Dr. William, left 
Worcester before the Revolution and served 
in the war as apothecary and physician to 
His Majesty's hospitals in America. After 
the war he returned to Worcester and prac- 
tised his profession. He was the first vice- 
president of the American Antiquarian So- 

The Hancock House 

One hundred and fifty years ago one of 
the best residences in town was the Han- 
cock mansion. This house stood on the 
grounds of the late Philip L. Moen, on 
Lincoln Street. 

Old Time Taverns 141 

Thomas Hancock, who married Lydia 
Henchman, granddaughter of Captain 
Daniel Henchman, owned this property. 
At his death, it came into the possession of 
his nephew. Governor John Hancock. The 
governor never occupied this house as a 
permanent residence, using it merely as a 
summer home. 

It was next used as a fashionable hotel 
forjudges, court officers and others who did 
not care to live in the town hotels. In 1781 
Levi Lincoln bought this property and 
lived here until his death in 1820. In 1846 
it was removed to its present location, on 
the corner of Grove and Lexington Streets. 

The house on Lexington Street, next to 
the Hancock house, originally stood on 
Salisbury Street. It belonged to the Walker 
family and was built about 1740. Mr. W. 
R. Hooper purchased it, removed it to its 
present location, and built on its old site, 
the building which formed the nucleus of 
the Highland Military Academy. 

The Salisbury Mansion 

Still standing on its original site, is the 
old Salisbury mansion, erected in 1770, by 

142 The Story of Worcester 

the first Stephen Salisbury. It is now occu- 
pied by the Hancock Club, and presents 
about the same external appearance it did 
a century ago. 

The Samuel Chandler House 

This house stands on the northeast cor- 
ner of Belmont Street and Lincoln Square. 
Originally it was the mansion house of 
Samuel Chandler. When Daniel Waldo, 
Sr., came to Worcester in 1782, he lived 
there. His son, Daniel Waldo, Jr., made 
it his home until 1806, when he erected the 
building which stood on the site of the Cen- 
tral Exchange, corner of Main and Ex- 
change Streets. 

The Trumbull Mansion 

This was originally the Court House and 
stood on Court Hill. It was built in 175 1 
and removed in 1801 to Trumbull Square. 
The mansion was torn down a few years ago 
to make room for the Kelly-Delehanty 
blocks. The lumber was carefully handled 
and the house was rebuilt on Massachusetts 

Old Time Taverns 143 

Isaiah Thomas's house is still standing 
in the rear of the Court House. 

In the diary of Christopher C. Baldwin 
is the following entry under date of May 
28, 1829: — 

" Ichabod Washburn raises his house 
without using any ardent spirits. Believed 
to be the first instance of the kind in New 
England." This house is now standing on 
the corner of Summer and Arch Streets. 

The mansion on the southeast corner of 
Main and Madison Streets was built by 
Gov. Alexander H. Bullock about 1850. 
After living there a short time he moved 
to his new home on Elm Street. 

The house on the northeast corner was 
built about the same time for a sister of 
Governor Bullock. 

The building now standing on the corner 
of Main Street and Allen Court was the 
residence of Mr. Charles Allen. His land 
extended from Park Street to land south of 
Allen Court, and included the land upon 
which the Sargent Building now stands. 

Rev. John S. C. Abbott, the historian, 
lived in the brick house standing on the 
corner of Lincoln and Frederick Streets. 

144 The Story of Worcester 

Mr. Abbott was the first historian to gain 
celebrity while a resident of Worcester, 
though his chief fame came after he had 
removed from the city. He came here in 
1830 as pastor of the Calvinist, now the 
Central Church, and remained five years. 
He produced many books which gained 
him a wide reputation, the most remarkable 
of which was his " Life of Napoleon Bona- 
parte," first published in Harper s Maga- 

The house at the corner of Lincoln Street 
and Keefe Place is known as the '' Conant 
House." It belonged to Mr. Edwin Co- 
nant, a lawyer. Later, he built the mansion 
at the corner of Harvard and State Streets. 
This he bequeathed to the Worcester Nat- 
ural History Society. Mr. Conant gave to 
the town of Sterling, the original Sterling 
Inn and the Public Library Building, and 
provided for a course of lectures on scien- 
tific subjects. 

Nearly opposite Linwood Street, on Lin- 
coln Street, there are two long brick blocks. 
The northern one has been raised and en- 
larged; the other remains in the original 
form, with entrance doors at the ends. In 

Old Time Taverns 145 

this building Miss Ward, daughter of Arte- 
mas Ward, kept a primary school. 

The only remaining mile-stone in 
Worcester stands on the sidewalk in front 
of this house. It bears the following in- 
scription: — 


Miles From 


To Springfield 

The house on Lincoln Street, directly op- 
posite Garden Street, was the Governor 
John Davis mansion. There Charles Dick- 
ens and his wife were entertained in 1842. 

On the northwest corner of Summer 
Street and Lincoln Square stood a large 
stone building, used as a county jail. This 
was built in 1788, and it was supposed at 
that time that it would be ample for two 
or three hundred years. In less than fifty 
years it was torn down. A house of correc- 
tion was built in 1819, on the site of the 
present county jail. In the records of the 
old jail may be read this pathetic entry — 
^'Discharged by Deth, April i, 1790." 
This record applies to that noble patriot, 

146 The Story of Worcester 

Colonel Timothy Bigelow, who was com- 
mitted to prison for debt, February 15, 
1790. In this old jail some of the English 
prisoners of the War of 1812 were confined. 
On the south side of Lincoln Square were 
the workshop, blacksmith shop, iron works 
and trip hammer of Timothy Bigelow. 


Nobility Hill began at a point opposite 
Park Street on Main Street and ended at 
a point opposite Burnside Court. It was 
similar to Court Hill but shorter. 

On the site of the Taylor Building, oppo- 
site Park Street, stood the residence of 
Judge Ira M. Barton. This house was built 
by Sheriff Gardiner Chandler. The estate 
was sold to R. C. Taylor in 1870 and taken 
down to give place to the Taylor block. 

Next south came the estate of Dr. Joseph 
Sargent. This house was cut in two and 
moved to Hammond Street. Nobility Hill 
began between the Barton house and the 
Sargent house. The Anthony Chase estate 
extended from the Sargent place to Chat- 
ham Street. After the hill was cut down, 
the house was turned around to bring its 

Old Time Taverns 147 

entrance upon Chatham Street. It is now 
used as the annex to the Y. W. C. A. build- 

Mr. George T. Rice lived in a house at 
the south corner of Main and Chatham 
Streets. The property was sold to the Ro- 
man Catholics, and the house was taken 
down. St. Paul's Church was built upon 
the rear end, covering also the rear portion 
of the Earle property. 

Next to the Rice house came the Towne 
house, owned by John Milton Earle, editor 
of ''The Weekly and Daily Spy/' Dr. 
John Park's house came next. This was 
taken down. Last on the hill was the Rev. 
Dr. Austin's house, occupied by Samuel H. 



MAIN STREET is the oldest thor- 
oughfare and has been used con- 
stantly from 1713. The Jo Bill 
Road, or Institute Road as it is now known, 
is one of the early roads, as are Front, Sum- 
mer, Lincoln, Salisbury, Pleasant, Green 
and Grafton Streets. Plantation Street re- 
ceived its name at the time Worcester was 
called Quinsigamond Plantations. 

Front Street was laid out in 1785; Me- 
chanic Street was opened in 1787 and ended 
at the cemetery; Thomas Street was given 
to the town by Isaiah Thomas in 1806; 
School Street was laid out by Geer Terry 
in 1 8 14 and was at first called Terry Street. 

Clarendon Harris published a village di- 
rectory and a map in 1829, and on this map 
the names of only fifteen streets are given 

Names of Streets 149 

— Salisbury, Main, School, Thomas, Cen- 
tral, Mechanic, Front, Franklin, Grafton, 
Green, Water, South (now Park), Church 
(now Salem Square), and Pleasant, Lin- 
coln Square and Washington Square. 
Pearl, Lincoln and Market Streets were 
shown, but were not named. 

Foster, Elm, and Exchange (formerly 
Market) Streets were opened between 1830 
and 1840. 

In many cases we can trace the deriva- 
tion of the names of streets, but, unfortu- 
nately, a large number of streets were 
named without any regard to good taste and 
common sense. 

Family names appear in such streets as 
Lincoln, Paine, Sturgis, Dean, Sever and 
Harrington ; historical names in Lafayette, 
Lamartine; Revolutionary names in Con- 
cord, Lexington, Prescott, Hancock, and 
Otis; literary names in Milton, Dryden, 
Edgeworth, Hemans, Bryant and Whittier; 
names of early settlers in Henchman and 

Governor Lincoln named Elm, Maple, 
Chestnut, Cedar, Walnut, Linden and Oak. 

Mr. Henry Chamberlin named Wood- 


The Story of Worcester 

land, Birch, Maywood, and Hawthorne 

In the Dictionary of Worcester, written 
by Franklin P. Rice, the derivation of 200 
streets is given, and with Mr. Rice's permis- 
sion we present a few of the most important 

Abbott . . . 

. Ebenezer E. Abbott 

Adams .... 

Adams family 

Alden .... 

John Alden 

Ashland . . . . 

. Home of Henry Clay 

Austin .... 

. Rev. Samuel Austin 

Barclay . . . 

. Barclay the Quaker 

Beacon . . . 

. Beacon Street 

Bellevue . . 

. Named by George Jaques 

Benefit . . . 

Benefit to Worcester Academy by 

sale of land 

Blackstone . 

. Blackstone Canal 

Blake .... 

. . Mayor James B. Blake 

Boynton . . . 

John Boynton 

Bradley . . . 

. . Osgood Bradley 

Camp .... 

. Camp Scott 

Castle .... 

. From the Oread 

Catharine . . 

. . Wife of Ebenezer Harrington 

Chandler . . 

. Chandler family 

Channing . . 

. . William Ellery Channing 

Chapin . . . 

. . Henry Chapin 

Charlotte . . 

. Wife of H. H. Chamberlain 

Cheever . . . 

. . Rev. Henry T. Cheever 

Clarkson . . 

. . Clarkson the Quaker 

Names of Streets 151 

Clinton De Witt Clinton 

Crescent .... Former shape of street 

Crompton .... George Crompton 

Crown Crown of the hill 

Crystal Crystal Lake in Illinois 

Curtis Albert Curtis 

Cushing Paine family name 

Davis Isaac Davis 

Dean Salisbury family name 

Dewey Francis H. Dewey 

Dix Dr. Elijah Dix 

Downing A. J. Downing, eminent horticul- 

_ > Edward Earle 

Edward ) 

Ellsworth .... Ellsworth the martyr 

Ely Lyman A. Ely 

Everett Edward Everett 

Exchange .... Central Exchange 

Foster Foster family 

Fountain .... From the " water-cure," formerly 

near there 

Fox Fox family 

Frederick . . . Frederick W. Paine 

Freeland .... Named in Free-soil times by H. H. 

Chamberlin and Henry Chapin 

Garden Garden of William Lincoln 

Gardner Named by James H. Wall for 

Governor Gardner 

Gates Simon S. Gates 

George General George Hobbs 


The Story of Worcester 

GoULDiNG .... Goulding family 

Hale Rev. Edward Everett Hale 

Hammond .... Sargent family name 

Henry ..... Walter Henry 

High Its situation 

Hudson Charles Hudson, member of Con- 

Jo Bill (Institute 

Road) Joseph Bill, who lived there in 1750 

John Dr. John Green 

Kansas Named in " Kansas " times 

Kendall Joseph G. Kendall 

King Family name of Mrs. S. H. Colton 

Kingsbury .... Family name of Rev. George 
Allen's mother 

Lagrange .... Home of Lafayette 

Langdon .... Name in Whittier's ** Stanzas for 
the Times " 

LoDi Bridge of Lodi 

Lincoln Lincoln family 

Loudon Eminent English landscape gar- 

LovELL Lovell family 

Lyford J. Chauncey Lyford 

Mason Joseph Mason 

Merrick Mrs. D. Waldo Lincoln's family 

Merrifield . . . Merrifield family 

Newbury .... Newbury St. in Portland, Me. 

Newport Native place of Mrs. Edward Earle 

Norwood Henry Ward Beecher's novel 

Oberlin Oberlin College 

Names of Streets 


Oxford . . . 

. . Oxford St. in New York 

Parker . . . 

. . Mrs. Joseph Mason's family name 

Pattison . . . 

. . Dr. R. E. Pattison 

Perkins . . . 

. . Paine family name 

Piedmont . . 

. . * Foot of the Mountain.* Name 

given by George Jaques 

Queen .... 

. . Named by S. H. Colton to mate 

King St. 

Richards . . 

. . Richards family 

Ripley .... 

. . John C. Ripley 

Russell . . 

. . James W. Russell 

Seward . . . 

. . William H. Seward 

Sturgis . . . 

. . Paine family name 

Temple . . . 

. . St. John's Church located there 

Trumbull . . 

. . George A. Trumbull 


. . Salisbury family name 

Union .... 

. . Named soon after Webster's reply 

to Hayne 

Wachusett . . 

. . The mountain can be seen from 


Waldo . . . 

. . Daniel Waldo 

Wellington . 

. . Named by George Jaques for the 


WiNSLOW . . 

. . Lincoln family name 



THE first settlement was made in 
1674; the second in 1684; the 
third and permanent settlement in 

Worcester became a town June 14, 1722, 

and a city Feb. 29, 1848. 

June 24, 1772. — The first stage coach 
from Boston to New York passed through 

May 5, 1779. — Two men were publicly 
whipped, forty stripes each, for passing 
counterfeit money. 

May 8, 1811. — ^' On Friday last Caleb 
Jephterson was exposed in the pillory for 
one hour and a half, pursuant to his sen- 
tence, upon three several convictions, for 
the odious and detestable crime of blas- 
pheming." — Spy, 

Interesting Facts 155 

May i6, 1832. — The Selectmen criti- 
cized by the Spy for licensing ^' a company 
of strolling actors calling themselves circus 
riders, to exhibit their fooleries here: Who 
does not know that no one gets any good 
by attending such exhibitions? That by 
going there, he encourages idleness, cruelty, 
and vice? It is to be hoped that this is the 
last time we shall be troubled with such 
unwelcome visitors." 

The type-writer was invented in Worces- 
ter by Charles Thurber, in 1843. The orig- 
inal machine is now in the possession of the 
Worcester Society of Antiquity. 

The first daily paper appeared June 23, 
1845. This was incorporated in 1847 with 
the Daily Spy. 

Mr. Osgood Bradley in 1835 built the 
cars for the Boston and Worcester Rail- 
road; probably the first passenger cars 
made in this country. 

Dr. R. L. Hawes of Worcester, in 1852, 
invented the first successful machine for 
making envelopes. 

September 12, 1848. — Abraham Lin- 
coln addressed a Whig meeting in City 

156 The Story of Worcester 

October 20, 1849. — Father Mathew, the 
distinguished Irish temperance agitator, 
visited Worcester and administered the 
pledge to hundreds of men. 

In 1849, Main Street was paved from 
Front to Exchange Street. This was the 
first paving done in the city. 

During Mayor Isaac Davis's term, in 
1861, the " Causeway " over Lake Quinsig- 
amond was completed at a cost of $26,000. 
On account of the hard times Mayor Davis 
employed a large number of citizens, many 
of whom otherwise would have been 
obliged to apply for aid. These men were 
paid sixty cents a day. 

October 30, 1854. — The Butman Riot 
occurred on this day. The cause of this riot 
was the attempt to arrest and carry back 
to slavery a negro named William H. Jan- 
kins, who for a number of years had been 
a respectable and industrious citizen of 

Massachusetts had passed laws forbid- 
ding her officers to assist in the enforcement 
of the Fugitive Slave Laws, and forbidding 
the use of her prison to the United States 
officers for the safe-keeping of prisoners 

Interesting Facts 157 

who should be arrested in consequence of 
these laws. 

Asa A. Butman, a deputy United States 
marshal, came to Worcester intending to 
arrest Jankins. ''The Spy'' notified the 
citizens of his arrival. A vigilance commit- 
tee was appointed to watch his movements. 
Butman was arrested on the charge of car- 
rying dangerous weapons and the judge 
ordered him to leave the city and never 
return. On his way to the depot he was 
assaulted by a mob of excited citizens. 

This was the last attempt to enforce the 
hated Fugitive Slave Law in Massachusetts. 

Mr. Jankins arranged matters with his 
old master, obtained his free papers and 
had them recorded in the office of our clerk 
of courts. These were the only free papers 
ever recorded on the books of this county. 

The steam calliope, such as is seen in 
circus parades, was invented here by J. C. 
Stoddard in 1856. 

The first street railroad was opened in 
1863. The Worcester Horse Railroad laid 
tracks from Harrington Avenue on Lincoln 
Street, through Main Street to Webster 
Square, on Front Street and on Pleasant to 

158 The Story of Worcester 

West Street. The Pleasant-Street line was 
discontinued after a short time and the 
tracks were taken up. The fare was seven 
cents, and, up to 1881, was five cents extra 
if a person wished to ride on Front Street. 
In 1 88 1 the tracks were extended to Adams 
Square, and a five-cent fare for the city was 
established. Worcester today is one of the 
great trolley cities of the country. Its street 
railway service brings it into direct com- 
munication, within a radius of 20 miles, 
w^ith thirty-five towns having a population 
of 375,000 people. 

The first Swedes came to Worcester in 
1868 and began work at The Washburn and 
Moen Wire Mill. 

March 30, 1876. — Lynde Brook Dam 
was carried away by the breaching of the 
masonry. The damage paid by the city, 
including the cost of a new dam, amounted 
to $227,000. 

The first bicycle made in America was 
built on Cypress Street, in 1878, by W. H. 

September 6, 1 88 1 . — ^' The Yellow 
Day." Lights were burning in stores and 
it was hardly possible to read in the open 

Interesting Facts 159 

air. Next day it was found that all the 
sunflowers had died. 

Electricity was first used for lighting 
the streets in 1883. 

The estimated population of Worcester 
in 19 10, is 147,000. 

Worcester is the second largest city in 
Massachusetts and the third in New Eng- 

Worcester has, with possibly one excep- 
tion, the most amply endowed art museum 
in this country. It is the gift of the late 
Stephen Salisbury, who left an estate that 
will yield $160,000 annually to be devoted 
to its uses. 

The first house-warming furnace in 
America was introduced here by Henry 
W. Miller. 

Brand Mark. — The ancient Brand 
Mark of Worcester, designated by the 
General Court in 1684, by which the cattle, 
etc., belonging to the place were to be dis- 
tinguished, was represented thus: —